New Guidelines on Biomarker Testing


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Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) research advocates advised on new evidence-based guidelines addressing biomarker testing based less on the cancer type or tumor origin and more on the methodology and status of a biomarker. The guideline titled "Mismatch Repair (MMR) and Microsatellite Instability (MSI) Testing for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy" was published by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) in collaboration with the Association for Molecular Pathology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Fight CRC. According to CAP, the guideline "breaks new ground with recommendations on the role of tumor mutational burden in MMR testing and the evaluation for Lynch Syndrome, a hereditary cancer syndrome that may be unexpectedly detected in the work-up of these patients with advanced cancers." 

Cancer biomarkers are biological, chemical, or biophysical entities that are present in tumor tissues or body fluids, and they can give valuable information about the characteristics of a tumor. Understanding the information about the tumor's future behavior can help patients and their doctors decide the best treatment plan. 

Two strategies outlined in Fight CRC's Path to a Cure report are to develop provider and patient education campaigns and strengthen alignment with quality and accreditation measures through National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and Commission on Cancer. Through the CAP’s new biomarker testing guidelines the colorectal cancer community is brought closer to the accreditation measures outlined in the Path to a Cure. 

"This is real progress for patients," said Anjee Davis, Fight CRC President. "One of our main objectives within our Path to a Cure report is to increase biomarker and molecular testing. The new CAP guideline brings us one step closer on our Path to a Cure." 

According to CAP, "The "Mismatch Repair (MMR) and Microsatellite Instability (MSI) Testing for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy" guideline provides clarity for pathologists and oncologists to improve the evaluation of patients with colorectal, endometrial, gastroesophageal, small bowel, and certain other cancers who may be eligible for immunotherapies known as immune checkpoint inhibitors."

Fight CRC's research advocates, Wendy Lewis and Wenora Johnson, advised on the guideline publication. 

“As a 3x cancer survivor diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, I’m very proud to have worked on the clinical guidelines for Mismatch Repair and Microsatellite Instability Testing for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy,” said Johnson. “Knowing that I can change my long-term treatment outlook for any additional cancers associated with Lynch Syndrome, makes me look at cancer survivorship totally different.  What this means for patients, is that we can possibly have a better quantity and quality of life due to these evidence-based guidelines.”

Fight CRC provides free, medically-reviewed resources to ensure patients receive more effective testing to be their best advocate. Earlier this year, Fight CRC board member Dr. Richard Goldberg and advocates submitted an op-ed about the importance of biomarker testing to The Cancer Letter, read the article here