Knowledge and Practice Patterns Among Pulmonologists for Molecular Biomarker Testing in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

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Targeted therapies for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with oncogenic drivers have caused a paradigm shift in care. Biomarker testing is needed to assess eligibility for these therapies. Pulmonologists often perform bronchoscopy, providing tissue for both pathological diagnosis and biomarker analysis. We performed this survey to define the existing knowledge and practices regarding the pulmonologists’ role in biomarker testing for advanced NSCLC.What is the current knowledge and practice of pulmonologists regarding biomarker testing and targeted therapies in advanced NSCLC?This cross-sectional study was performed using an electronic survey of a random sample of 7,238 pulmonologists. Questions focused on diagnostic steps and biomarker analyses for NSCLC.A total of 453 pulmonologists responded. Respondents vary by reported lung cancer patient volume, ranging from 51% evaluating 1-4 new cases per month to 19% evaluating >10 per month. Interventional training, academic practice setting, and higher volume of EBUS-TBNA were associated with increased knowledge of practice guidelines for the number of recommended passes during EBUS-TBNA (p<0.05). Academic pulmonologists more commonly performed or referred for EBUS-TBNA compared to community pulmonologists (96% and 83% respectively, p<0.0005). Higher testing rates were associated with interventional training, academic setting, and the presence of an institutional policy, whereas lower testing rates were associated with general pulmonologists, practice in community settings, and lack of a guiding institutional policy (p<0.05).Substantial differences among pulmonologists’ evaluation of advanced NSCLC, variation in knowledge of available biomarkers and the importance of targeted therapies, and differences in institutional coordination likely lead to underutilization of biomarker testing. Interventional training appears to drive improved knowledge and practice for biomarker testing more than practice setting. Improvements are needed in tissue acquisition and interdisciplinary coordination to ensure universal and comprehensive testing for eligible patients.

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Authors: Adam H Fox, James R Jett, Upal Basu Roy, Bruce E Johnson, Jennifer C King, Nikki Martin, Raymond U Osarogiagbon, M Patricia Rivera, Lauren S Rosenthal, Robert A Smith, Gerard A Silvestri