- The isolation and analysis of circulating cell-free tumor DNA in plasma is a powerful tool with considerable potential to improve clinical outcomes across multiple cancer types, including NSCLC. Assays of this nature that use blood as opposed to tumor samples are frequently referred to as liquid biopsies. An increasing number of innovative platforms have been recently developed that improve not only the fidelity of the molecular analysis but also the number of tests performed on a single specimen.
- The goal of personalized medicine is to treat patients with a therapy predicted to be efficacious based on the molecular characteristics of the tumor, thereby sparing the patient futile or toxic therapy. Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors are effective against ALK-positive non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors, but to date the only approved companion diagnostic is a break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a clinically applicable cost-effective test that is sensitive and specific for ALK protein expression.