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Challenges in Implementing Personalized Medicine for Lung Cancer within a National Healthcare System
University of Manitoba, 820 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg, MB R3A 1R8, Canada
Department of Medical Oncology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4L8, Canada
Juravinski Cancer Centre, 699 Concession Street, Hamilton, ON, L8V 5C2, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 July 2012; in revised form: 21 August 2012 / Accepted: 27 August 2012 / Published: 10 September 2012
Abstract: The traditional approach to the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) relied on the uniform use of cytotoxic chemotherapy. Over the last eight years, this paradigm of care has been shifting towards the use of molecularly targeted agents. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations have emerged as an important biomarker for these targeted agents and multiple studies have shown that tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) that inhibit EGFR are superior to traditional chemotherapy in patients possessing an EGFR mutation. Nationally funded health care systems face a number of challenges in implementing these targeted therapies, most related to the need to test for biomarkers that predict likelihood of benefiting from the drug. These obstacles include the challenge of getting a large enough tissue sample, workload of involved specialists, reliability of subtyping in NSCLC, differences in biomarker tests, and the disconnect between the funding of drugs and the related biomarker test. In order to improve patient outcomes, in a national healthcare system, there is a need for governments to accept the changing paradigm, invest in technology and build capacity for molecular testing to facilitate the implementation of improved patient care.
Keywords: personalized medicine; non-small cell lung cancer; delivery of healthcare; molecular targeted therapy; erlotinib; gefitinib; crizotinib; epidermal growth factor receptor
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Dawe, D.E.; Ellis, P.M. Challenges in Implementing Personalized Medicine for Lung Cancer within a National Healthcare System. J. Pers. Med. 2012, 2, 77-92.
Dawe DE, Ellis PM. Challenges in Implementing Personalized Medicine for Lung Cancer within a National Healthcare System. Journal of Personalized Medicine. 2012; 2(3):77-92.
Dawe, David E.; Ellis, Peter M. 2012. "Challenges in Implementing Personalized Medicine for Lung Cancer within a National Healthcare System." J. Pers. Med. 2, no. 3: 77-92.