10 March 2021

Report from patient, industry and pathology bodies points to inequalities

All cancer patients eligible for biomarker-linked therapy should be tested for clinically relevant biomarkers, and long-term goal testing should be repeated throughout treatment, says a new report jointly commissioned by bodies representing cancer patients, pathology and the pharmaceutical industry in Europe.

Biomarker testing is vital for precision medicine, with the potential to personalise treatment decisions in many cancers, including prostate. Tests can identify patients most likely to respond to treatment, predict disease progression and identify people at increased risk.

The new report, jointly commissioned by the International Quality Network for Pathology (IQN Path), the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), says that current access to high quality oncology biomarker testing across Europe is inconsistent and contributes to health inequalities.

A person who inherits certain mutations in a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene has a higher risk of prostate and other types of cancer. Many trials are now investigating new biomarkers and drug targets for prostate cancer, with precision medicines such as PARP inhibitors now becoming available for men with the relevant genetic profile.

“By laying out clear recommendations for optimising patient access to the ideal biomarker testing paradigm, this paper is contributing to achieving a vision of universal access to precision medicine in cancer care for all European cancer patients,” say the report authors.