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Integration of rapid PCR testing as an adjunct to NGS in diagnostic pathology services within the UK: evidence from a case series of non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with follow-up


Aims Somatic genetic testing in non-squamous, non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients is required to highlight subgroups eligible for a number of novel oncological therapies. This study aims to determine whether turnaround times for reporting epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) by next-generation sequencing (NGS) alone is sufficient to meet the needs of lung cancer patients.

Methods We performed a retrospective case series with follow-up. Outcomes of EGFR testing (102 tests) in 96 patients by NGS were compared with a rapid, fully automated PCR-based platform (Idylla) in local histopathology laboratories.

Results Turnaround time for reporting NGS was 17 calendar days. Reporting using the Idylla EGFR Mutation Test, by contrast, gave a potential turnaround time of 3.8 days from request to authorisation. Three-quarters of patients presenting with stage IV disease had a performance status of 0, 1, or 2 but 18% experienced rapid clinical deterioration (p<0.05). A third of these patients were deceased by the time NGS reports were available.

Conclusions We discuss issues around integrating rapid PCR testing alongside NGS in multidisciplinary care pathways and strategies for mitigating against foreseeable difficulties. Dual testing for stage IV non-squamous, NSCLC patients has the potential to improve care and survival outcomes by providing access to the right test at the right time.

  • genes
  • neoplasm
  • lung neoplasms
  • medical oncology
  • pathology
  • surgical
  • polymerase chain reaction

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Please contact first author by email with reasonable data requests.

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