Biocept, Inc., a molecular oncology diagnostics company dedicated to biomarker analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) has recently announced the launch of the company’s EGFR mutation detection tests that utilize patient’s blood-based liquid biopsy. This is an innovative diagnostic test that has the potential to assist physicians and help them identify which of their patients might be receptive to specific treatments to address non-small cell lung cancer.
If these mutations are identified in patients suffering with advanced non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) it can provide an opportunity for them to receive optimal targeted therapies also known as Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs). There are two FDA-approved TKI therapies in the United States to address patients with specific EGFR mutations: Erlotinib, commercialized as Tarceva® by Genentech, Inc.; and Afatinib, commercialized as Gilotrif® by Boehringher Ingelheim GmbH.
“At the time of recurrence or progression of non-small cell lung cancer, many patients may not have the option to have an assessment of EGFR mutation status because all of the original tissue biopsy material was consumed by the diagnostic testing conducted to identify the cancer. In other cases, patients may be too sick to undergo a surgical biopsy. For patient populations who are not candidates for tissue biopsy, there is a clear need for a test that enables physicians to better manage their cancer. With the addition of EGFR mutation testing to our NSCLC diagnostic capabilities, we believe we are addressing this unmet medical need by delivering diagnostic results that are comparable to those available through tissue biopsy from a simple blood test,” said Raaj Trivedi from Biocept in a press release.
Veena Singh, the Senior Medical Director of the company, added: “With existing FDA-approved drugs on the market, every lung cancer patient should have the opportunity to have their sample tested to potentially qualify and benefit from one of these targeted therapies. Our blood test, with its high level of both sensitivity and specificity, may help patients qualify for important therapeutic options when a tissue biopsy is not safe or practical. Testing for these mutations in blood is a safe and effective alternative to tissue biopsy for monitoring patients for both response and possible resistance to therapies.”
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death, according to the National Cancer Institute’s data. It is estimated that 228,190 Americans will receive a lung cancer diagnosis and that 159,480 will die because of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent of the total of lung cancers are NSCLC. About 10 percent of patients with NSCLC have EGFR gene mutations.