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Bridging the Gap Between Biomarker Testing and Treatment

October 5, 2023    Posted by: Eli Lilly and Company

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Understanding the importance of comprehensive genomic profiling in lung cancer  

This year alone, more than 1.9 million Americans will face a new cancer diagnosis.1 About 238,340 of those people are predicted to be new cases of lung cancer—the second most common cancer for men and women in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society.2

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience for the person diagnosed and their loved ones. Many questions can arise after a cancer diagnosis including: What type of cancer do I have? What are my treatment options? Is this type of cancer caused by genetic factors?

Although there is no one-size-fits-all in cancer care, there’s one thing everyone has in common: the right to personalized care.

Over the last fifteen years, there has been a rapid expansion of precision medicines, particularly for those living with cancer. Comprehensive biomarker testing plays a valuable role in ensuring that a person gets matched to the right treatment at the right time.

People living with advanced cancers may have better results from the rise of therapies that specifically target the alteration that is driving the cancer’s development. One type of cancer that is leading the charge in precision medicine and comprehensive genomic profiling is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

For people diagnosed with NSCLC, there is more than a 50% chance of having a genomic alteration that can be targeted by FDA-approved treatments.3 Next-generation sequencing technologies can detect actionable genomic alterations in a single test to potentially provide people with a more accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment options.

As more targeted therapies become available for people with cancer, biomarker testing is quickly emerging as the standard of care. Currently, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends comprehensive biomarker testing for eligible people diagnosed with advanced or metastatic cancer.4

Despite the promise of precision medicine, comprehensive genomic profiling remains underutilized due to a lack of test access, especially for people of color, the uninsured or underinsured, and those treated in rural areas. Cost and time can also be a barrier. For those with lung cancer, it may be beneficial to understand a person’s specific cancer by waiting for the biomarker testing results before making an informed treatment decision.

It is important that those living with cancer and caregivers feel empowered to take a more dynamic role in comprehensive care. This includes sharing decision-making with providers and having open conversations with care teams. When people living with cancer and their caregivers are well-informed on important aspects of the diagnosis and treatment process, they can become better advocates for their health.

We are dedicated to working to educate and provide access to comprehensive genomic profiling for those diagnosed with certain cancers and continuing to challenge barriers in testing.

[1] American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2023. Available at: Accessed August 16, 2023.

[2] American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Lung Cancer. Available at: Accessed August 16, 2023.

[3] Johnson M, et al. “My Patient Was Diagnosed With Nontargetable Advanced Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer. What Now?” Diagnosis and Initial Treatment Options for Newly Diagnosed Patients With Advanced NSCLC. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book 38. 2018; 696-707. DOI: 10.1200/EDBK_201231.

[4] National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Biomarker Testing Recommendations. Available at:,receive%20appropriate%20targeted%20therapies%20or. Accessed September 1, 2023.