"Researchers at UC Davis have determined that surgical biopsies can be safely performed on select patients with late-stage non-small cell lung cancer, which should enhance their access to drugs that target specific genetic mutations such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).
"The findings, published in the July issue of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, address a common problem in treatment for advanced lung cancer: insufficient tumor tissue available for molecular analysis, which is required before prescribing targeted therapy."
Editor's note: Surgical biopsies (removal of a small sample of a tumor) are used by doctors to figure out if a patient's tumor has certain genetic mutations. A tumor's genetic mutations can help determine which treatments are most likely to work. Some doctors are reluctant to take surgical biopsies from patients with late-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) because of concerns that dangerous complications will arise. But a new study found that, with careful expert review and good surgical approaches, certain late-stage patients can safely have surgical biopsies.