Target Your Cancer
A cancer diagnosis can produce great uncertainty. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, you might feel overwhelmed by all of the questions you have and all of the information you are being given. However, information is the key to finding options in your fight against cancer.
One of the newest and most advanced ways to help physicians assess your options is to identify the biomarkers – “targets” that are specific to your cancer. Today, tumor profiling, or also called molecular profiling, makes this possible, and at The Zangmeister Cancer Center we use this new oncology service to do just that.
Tumor profiling, which is a term that emerged from the Human Genome Project, is an alternative to the one-size-fits-all approach to cancer treatment and uses a focused approach to treatment that specifically targets an individual patient’s tumor. Most importantly, the type of personalized cancer care brought about by tumor profiling may increase the likelihood that patients will benefit from cancer therapy.
Tumor profiling marks an important step forward in oncology and reflects a trend toward personalized cancer care. The Zangmeister Cancer Center uses tumor profiling to identify the specific genetic aspects of a person’s tumor, called biomarkers, which we can then potentially target. Targeting a tumor means attacking attributes of the tumor that are allowing it to grow and spread, and customizing a treatment plan specifically designed to alter the growth and development of a specific patient’s tumor. This enhances the possibility that the patient may respond favorably to therapy.
Tumor profiling helps us to know which treatments are more likely to be effective, as well as those that may not be effective, and it can also help us to identify important treatment options that might not have otherwise been considered.
How it Works: Evidence-Guided Tumor Profiling
Tumor profiling begins with an analysis of a tumor and the biomarkers or “targets.” The information can then be matched to published studies from the world’s leading cancer researchers to identify therapies with a potentially higher likelihood of clinical benefit, as well as therapies that may be unlikely to create benefit. Since new research in cancer and biomarkers continually emerges, a medical and scientific literature search that correlates biomarker expression to therapy is critically important because it identifies some of the latest biomarkers and drug information from the relevant current medical literature. This ensures physicians are working with the latest and most relevant medical information as they make treatment decisions with their patients.
How it Can Help You
This type of tumor profiling service is well suited for people affected by a wide variety of cancers, including people with aggressive disease, rare cancers, those with limited treatment options, as well as those who may have multiple options to choose from.
While some of our patients have seen their cancer treated successfully with targeted therapy, others have benefitted from increased progression-free survival rates (time during which the cancer did not grow or spread) and improved quality of life, both of which are very important factors to patients with advanced forms of the disease.
Through tumor profiling, we are able to increase the possibility that our patients will respond favorably to therapy, and thereby avoid the potential side effects and the costs associated with a therapy that may be less likely to help the patient.
The Zangmeister Cancer Center is one of the healthcare providers in the central Ohio area that is leading the way in using tumor profiling. This state-of-the-art service is helping Zangmeister physicians and staff to provide more patients gain a better understanding of their best treatment options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tumor profiling, also called molecular profiling, involves the testing of a person’s individual tumor to determine its genetic and molecular structure. The genetic and molecular structure of a tumor is unique to each patient. The information derived from tumor profiling – the specific information about the genetic and molecular structure of a person’s cancer – identifies specific biomarkers that can be targeted with specific treatments known to be more effective against these specific biomarker targets. Equally important, the information can prevent the use of treatments known to be ineffective.
Tumor profiling is performed with the use of a tumor profiling service that tests tumors for specific genetic and molecular information. After a cancer diagnosis, we send a tumor samples obtained from biopsy to a laboratory for analysis. The tumor is examined to identify biomarkers that may be targeted by various available treatments. These biomarkers in a patient’s tumor are compared with the latest clinical literature to provide valuable information about therapies that may be more likely to produce a positive response.
Tumor profiling may be helpful for a wide variety of solid tumors, and you may be a good candidate if you have an aggressive or advanced cancer, you have not been responsive to therapy, you have a rare cancer, you are facing limited treatment options or you and your doctor are exploring treatment options but the best treatment plan is not clear. Ask your oncologist if you are a good candidate.
Medicare and other insurance providers typically reimburse the cost for this service. The laboratory we use for tumor profiling will bill your insurance company. Contact your insurance company to see if your plan covers tumor profiling.