Newly diagnosed patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) benefit tremendously from next-generation sequencing (NGS) to test for driver mutations and determine the best first-line treatment.
But NGS platforms, such as parallel DNA sequencing, can have longer turnaround times than non-NGS testing, and “[d]elays in time to treatment lead to worsened survival in patients with early-stage breast, lung, and colon cancers,” explained Raymond Liu, MD, of the Permanente Medical Group in San Francisco, and colleagues.
They decided to address NGS testing delays head on at their institution via the ASCO Quality Training Program (ASCO QTP). “We brought a broad array of stakeholders together to analyze the process of obtaining tissue NGS in a complex, integrated health care system,” the researchers wrote in their study in JCO Oncology Practice.
Steps that the group implemented were:
- Earlier physician review of pathology results of patients with newly diagnosed NSCLC
- Identification and focus on “key countermeasures,” to combat delays, such as NGS vendor availability to accept pathologic specimens
- “Balance measures,” such as prioritization of tissue NGS over PD-L1 testing
- Creation of an “automated, electronic weekly report to provide earlier identification of new pathologic diagnoses in patients with metastatic NSCLC”