Cancer is a disease of genomic alterations and, based on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines), the use of therapeutic agents that target specific genomic alterations is standard of care for several tumor types, including lung and breast carcinomas.1,2 First-line treatment of lung adenocarcinomas that have a sensitizing EGFR mutation or ALK rearrangement includes the use of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, such as erlotinib or crizotinib, whereas ceritinib is currently approved for ALK-positive patients in the second-line setting.2 Similarly, first-line treatment of breast carcinomas with amplification of ERBB2 (HER2) includes trastuzumab and pertuzumab, whereas in the second-line setting, ado-trastuzumab emtansine and lapatinib have been approved (NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer).1 Given the central role of targeted agents in the management of patients with tumors harboring these types of changes, testing for genomic alterations is recommended as part of the workup in the NCCN Guidelines for several tumor types. Importantly, as the number of clinically relevant genes and targeted therapies for different tumor types expand, testing using a multiplex, high-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform offers a method for analyzing the mutation status of multiple cancer-related genes, thus providing a genetic mutational profile of the tumor. This article describes a case in which the unique cancer signature (genetic mutational profile) of a tumor not only established the correct diagnosis, but also dramatically changed the course of treatment.
Dr. Boumber has disclosed that he receives research support from Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp for product development; is on the advisory board for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Clovis Oncology; and is on the speakers' bureau for Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. The remaining authors have disclosed that they have no financial interests, arrangements, affiliations, or commercial interests with the manufacturers of any products discussed in this article or their competitors.
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