What is tumor sequencing and why does it matter?

Cancer is caused by mutations (or changes) in DNA. Sequencing tumor samples for mutations can provide insights into the genetic defects of an individual patient's cancer and in some cases, suggest beneficial therapies that target these specific defects-- so-called "targeted therapy" drugs.  

Unlike other cancer types though, men with metastatic prostate cancer are not routinely tested for tumor mutations because there have not been relevant therapies for common prostate cancer mutations. Also, tumor sequencing can be expensive and is not usually covered by health insurance.

Some patients with metastatic prostate cancer have tumors with particular mutations, which may be treated with targeted therapy drugs. A new class of targeted therapy called PARP inhibitors have recently been approved for ovarian cancer and are now being tested in clinical trials for men with metastatic prostate cancer, but only in men with specific tumor mutations.

 In order to find out if you might benefit from targeted therapy, your leftover tumor sample needs to have genetic testing. Stratify Prostate is helping men with metastatic prostate cancer see if they qualify.


Resources

Cancer.gov

Includes information on genetic changes and cancer, and clinical DNA sequencing. 

 

American Cancer Society

Information on how genes can help in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.