The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Global Survey on Molecular Testing in Lung Cancer


Introduction: Access to targeted therapies for lung cancer depends on the accurate identification of patients’ biomarkers through molecular testing. The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) conducted an international survey to evaluate perceptions on current practice and barriers to implementation of molecular testing. Methods: We distributed the survey to IASLC members and other health care professionals around the world. The survey included a seven-question introduction for all respondents, who then answered according to one of three tracks: (1) requesting tests and treating patients, (2) performing and interpreting assays, or (3) tissue acquisition. Barriers to implementing molecular testing were provided in free-response fields. The chi-square test was used for regional comparisons. Results: A total of 2537 respondents from 102 countries participated. Most respondents who test and treat patients believe that less than 50% of patients with lung cancer in their country receive molecular testing, but reported higher rates within their own practice. Although many results varied by region, the five most frequent barriers cited in all regions were cost, quality and standards, access, awareness, and turnaround time. Many respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of molecular testing for lung cancer, including 41% of those performing and interpreting assays. Issues identified included trouble understanding results (37%) and the quality of the samples (23% reported >10% rejection rate). Despite concerns regarding the quality of testing, 47% in the performing and interpreting track stated there is no policy or strategy to improve quality in their country. In addition, 33% of respondents who request tests and treat patients were unaware of the most recent College of American Pathologists, IASLC, and Association for Molecular Pathology guidelines for molecular testing. Conclusions: Adoption of molecular testing for lung cancer is relatively low across the world. Barriers include cost, access, quality, turnaround time, and lack of awareness.

Publication Title

Journal of Thoracic Oncology