Eligible Black lung cancer patients are likely not receiving biomarker testing and tailored treatment as often as their white counterparts.
With the discovery of numerous targeted therapies, some lung cancer patients may be eligible to take a pill that “targets” their specific type of lung cancer. Testing to see if a patient is eligible for a targeted therapy is called biomarker testing and involves looking at changes or mutations in a person’s genes. Biomarker testing can also provide information about whether or not a patient will be eligible for immunotherapy by looking at levels of certain proteins in the cells.
Because precision medicine takes into account a person’s genes or tumor biology, it is important to understand if people with different ancestries have differences in their genes which may impact cancer.
n many parts of the country, Black people face barriers to receiving high-quality cancer care, including access to precision medicine. A recent study found that when looking at metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, white patients were nearly twice as likely to receive biomarker testing compared to eligible Black patients.
See “Lung Cancer Biomarker Testing and Black Americans” by Carly Ornstein on the American Lung Association website (November 23, 2020)