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“Mixed Response” in Lung Cancer: What Should We Do, and What


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“Mixed Response” in Lung Cancer: What Should We Do, and What’s Happening Biologically?

January 11th, 2013 - by Dr. Jack West


The topic of “mixed response” to treatment for lung cancer comes up as a rather common question. I tried to cover this in two brief videos. The first explains we mean when we refer to a mixed response, and then how we might approach this issue in the clinic.

The second video continues on that theme and covers the question of what is happening biologically when we see a mixed response, which brings up the question of whether we should do multiple biopsies, looking specifically at the areas that are progressing, and whether we should repeat biopsies at multiple intervals over the course of a patient’s disease. This isn’t the current standard, but might we learn far more about cancer biology if we were to do this?

If you or someone you care about demonstrated a mixed response while on treatment for lung cancer, would you be inclined to undergo a repeat biopsy, even if there were a good chance it wouldn’t reveal a result that changes management? And if yes, if an insurer said that it wouldn’t be covered, would you want to pay for the cost of the biopsy and testing for various molecular markers? These are the kinds of questions we faced in the times of transition in how we practice — in this case, moving into a new era of molecular oncology.

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