according to the national cancer institute molecular testing is a laboratory test that checks for certain genes, proteins, or other molecules- known as biomarkers, in a sample of tissue, blood, or other body fluid. molecular tests also check for certain changes in a gene or chromosome that may cause or affect the chance of developing a specific disease or disorder, such as cancer. a molecular test may be done to help diagnose some types of cancer, to help plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, or to make a prognosis.
understanding of the molecular makeup of cancer has evolved substantially over the past century. with the introduction of gene sequencing, hundreds of genetic alterations have been discovered creating an understanding of the major prognostic or predictive implications of these specific changes. and this has led to the altered diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cancer, and enabling personalized molecular therapies.
strong evidence now exists to support molecular testing in patients with various types of cancer, including lung carcinoma, melanoma, colorectal carcinoma, and acute myeloid leukemia, these markers are an essential component of routine clinical practice and standard of care. these molecular markers can also help predict response to treatment.
improved treatment, fewer side effects, less time on treatment and improved quality of care, not only improve quality of life for patients but also account for important cost benefits for our healthcare system, more effective use of resources and decrease the burden on the healthcare system.