Markey Molecular Tumor Board Improves Patient Outcomes in Kentucky Appalachians

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (November 2, 2021) – A recent study shows that patients with non-small cell lung cancer examined by the Molecular Tumor Board at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center have better outcomes, even if they reside in rural Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains.

The Molecular Tumor Boards (MTB) represent a strategy to increase the use of precision medicine in cancer care by using genomic analysis of tumors to help oncologists choose cancer therapies tailored to each patient’s individual needs.

In 2016, the UK’s Markey Cancer Center launched a statewide ATV; Patients’ tumors are tested for mutations using next-generation sequencing (NGS). The impact of MTB was recently reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Precision Medicine, demonstrating that the MTB review process improves the overall survival of patients newly diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. Improved outcomes have been associated with MTB examinations regardless of where patients reside.

The results show that ATVs can help overcome some health disparities for underprivileged populations, says study author Jill Kolesar, Pharm.D., Professor at the UK College of Pharmacy who heads the Precision Medicine Center in Markey and co-chairs ATV.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States Kentucky leads the country in rates of new cases and deaths from lung cancer, with the rural and medically underserved region of the Appalachians carrying the highest cancer burden.

“Our study suggests that this personalized medicine approach may help reduce health disparities in Appalachian Kentucky by improving access to expertise and precision medicine options after cancer diagnosis,” said Kolesar. “The MTB also provides cancer researchers with information that can lead to the development of new therapies and clinical trials that are most relevant to Kentuckians.”

“The Molecular Tumor Board has been a very effective addition to my clinical practice,” said Donald Goodin, MD, study co-author with Baptist Health Hematology & Oncology at Hardin. “In a rapidly changing landscape of cancer treatment, this provides access to high-level opinions on options without patients needing to travel, which is a major barrier to care in our region. “

When a doctor requests an MTB exam, the NGS report is evaluated by the MTB, an interdisciplinary team made up of representatives from medical oncology, surgical oncology, pathology, radiology, genetic counseling and genetics. clinical pharmacology.

Based on the assessment, the board may recommend three types of potential care: therapies for this patient’s cancer type that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), therapies approved by the FDA for another tumor type and potential clinical trials.

By analyzing the molecular characteristics of cancerous tumors on a case-by-case basis, the Molecular Tumor Board also creates a cache of information to direct the development of new therapies and clinical trials that target the types of cancers found in Markey and across Kentucky.


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