Nowadays, the analysis of theranostic molecular markers is central in the management of lung cancer. As those tumors are diagnosed in two third of the cases at an advanced stage, molecular screening is frequently performed on “small samples”. The screening strategy starts by an accurate histopathological characterization, including on biopsies or cytological specimens. WHO 2015 provided a new classification for small biopsy and cytology, defining categories such as non-small cell carcinoma (NSCC), favor adenocarcinoma (TTF1 positive), or favor squamous cell carcinoma (p40 positive). Only the NSCC tumors, non-squamous, are eligible to molecular testing. A strategy aiming at tissue sparing for the small biopsies has to be organized. Tests corresponding to available drugs are prioritized. Blank slides will be prepared for immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization based tests such as ALK. DNA will then be extracted for the other tests, EGFR mutation screening first associated or not to KRAS. Then, the emerging biomarkers (HER2, ROS1, RET, BRAF…) as well as potentially other markers in case of clinical trials, can been tested. The spread of next generation sequencing technologies, with a very sensitive all-in-one approach will allow the identification of minority clones. Eventually, the development of liquid biopsies will provide the opportunity to monitor the apparition of resistance clones during treatment. This non-invasive approach allows patients with a contraindication to perform biopsy or with non-relevant biopsies to access to molecular screening.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.