Topic: Here and There - ASCO seminar-Bits and Pieces- 2013
I was suprised By. Dr. Tolcher who is the CEO of South Texas Accelerated research Therapeutics,LLC saying that the diagnostic bio markers tests are still not being that of high standard and thus are for investigational or research purpose mostly. Those chemotherapy tests and bio markers test now in use ,except for the Kras mutation bio marker for colon cancer are " far from the effort of being actionable." That is most of the genetic tests done now are too expensive and of little or no clinical benefit at all. ( ie: we know about p13k kinase,but what its benefit is still not known not to mention what it's interpretation is represented in those reports done by the companies.)
I am a kind of lost ,therefore I asked him personally after the meeting to see whether I heard him correctly since he is the head of that research LLC.
He recommended since right now the standard is very low to be of benefit of such testing, we should look at how many patients actually benefited from the clinical study as compare to using the test for diagnosis purpose.
Even if the predictive value for a biomarker is high but what exactly does it mean in terms of whether the drug really works well or not is unknown.
His advice is do not waste money on those tests because even the test report says this drug X will work on your cancer but it may not be so. The best way at this point is to continue the chemotherapy treatment and join clinical trial instead. There is at least a 5-10% successful rate for joining the clinical trail . But even if the clinical trial does not work for you, it is still better than to waste a lot of money in both testing and purchasing the drug recommended by such chemo sensitive testing reports.
In his point of view, the technical know how to correlate the disease state with the usage of the bio markers testings are Not There yet.
Surprise,surprise ,this comment is coming from the head of a company which is in the business of such topic.
BTW, The title of his lecture is"Understanding the difference between molecular data and the actionable information."
This is one of the reason to keep up to date of our understanding about this and other disease.