Aims Lung cancer predictive biomarker testing is essential to select advanced-stage patients for targeted treatments and should be carried out without delays even during health emergencies, such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Methods Fifteen molecular laboratories from seven different European countries compared 4 weeks of national lockdown to a corresponding period in 2019, in terms of tissue and/or plasma-based molecular test workload, analytical platforms adopted, number of cases undergoing programmed death-ligand1 (PD-L1) expression assessment and DNA-based molecular tests turnaround time.
Results In most laboratories (80.0%), tissue-based molecular test workload was reduced. In 40.0% of laboratories (6/15), the decrease was >25%, and in one, reduction was as high as 80.0%. In this instance, a concomitant increase in liquid biopsy was reported (60.0%). Remarkably, in 33.3% of the laboratories, real-time PCR (RT-PCR)-based methodologies increased, whereas highly multiplexing assays approaches decreased. Most laboratories (88.9%) did not report significant variations in PD-L1 volume testing.
Conclusions The workload of molecular testing for patients with advanced-stage lung cancer during the lockdown showed little variations. Local strategies to overcome health emergency-related issues included the preference for RT-PCR tissue-based testing methodologies and, occasionally, for liquid biopsy.
- molecular biology
- lung neoplasms
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article.
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Handling editor Runjan Chetty.
Twitter @UmbertoMalapel1, @PasqualePisapia
UM, PP and AI contributed equally.
Contributors UM, PP, AI and GTr conceived the study and wrote the manuscript. All authors collected the data, reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
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Competing interests UM reports personal fees (as speaker bureau or advisor) from Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, Roche, MSD, Amgen, Merck and BMS. GTr reports personal fees (as speaker bureau or advisor) from Roche, MSD and Pfizer.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.