Cancer biomarkers are molecules that can be detected in bodily fluids or tissues. Cancer biomarkers can identify people who have cancer or who are at risk of getting cancer.
Cancer biomarkers can also help select or predict those people who are likely to derive therapeutic benefit from specific treatment regimes. In fact, biomarkers are essentially to identify the Achilles’ Heel in the tumour that doctors can target with specific drugs.
For example, the EGFR biomarker in lung cancer is a DNA mutation that indicates which people are more likely to benefit from targeted therapies. Biomarkers can also be used to monitor remission.
In short: biomarkers are essential for personalised medicine. They can help the right person get the right treatment at the right time.
The European Cancer Patient Coalition is calling for:
- Increased access and decreased waiting times for high quality molecular testing, to make personalised healthcare more of a reality across Europe.
- Awareness campaigns that increase health literacy by increasing patients’ understanding of molecular testing.
- Progress towards a harmonised and more efficient regulatory framework, which could increase access to and potentially reduce the costs of molecular testing.