Oncologists Often Favor Immunotherapy Over NGS-Guided Targeted Drugs, Survey Finds

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – When the choice is whether to prescribe patients experimental, targeted drugs based on genetic markers driving their tumors, or recommend immunotherapies, doctors are often going with the latter, a recent survey found.

A sampling of more than 100 physicians showed that more than two-thirds preferred prescribing patients a type of immunotherapy, called a checkpoint inhibitor, rather than direct them to an experimental targeted drug based on genomic testing.

OmniSeq, a company that a year ago launched a 144-gene next-generation sequencing cancer profiling assay, conducted the survey. Based on the findings and one-on-one conversations with oncologists in the community, executives at OmniSeq believe that doctors may be shifting away from targeted drugs using a precision testing approach in favor of recently approved checkpoint inhibitors.

There may be a number of reasons for this, including implementation challenges that keep genomic test results from being added to patients’ medical charts. But OmniSeq Chief Commercial Officer Matt Klusas suspects that the firm’s survey reflects the sobering reality that though some of these targeted drugs initially melt away tumors, patients’ cancers almost always recur.

With immunotherapies, between 20 percent and 30 percent of cancer patients respond, and there are risks that

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