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Testing, Testing for Mutations

Testing a lung tumor's genome for alterations is helping patients get treatments matched to their disease, US News & World Report says.

About 60 percent of lung adenocarcinomas harbor specific gene mutations that may be key drivers of disease, it says, adding that by targeting these changes, clinicians may be better able to treat the disease.

"It's an important point to stress that people should be getting genetic testing at the time of diagnosis for lung cancer so that the optimal treatment can be selected," David Carbone from Ohio State University tells US News & World Report. Though, he notes, "many people still don't do that."

Carbone adds that testing is recommended as part of the standard of care, and US News advises patients whose doctors don't conduct such testing to ask why and consider getting a second opinion.

US News adds that genetic testing of tumors could identify clinical trials for which patients may be candidates. The Cleveland Clinic's Nathan Pennell notes that some people may hesitate to take part in a trial, but he says they are more "rational" than they used to be and that researchers have a better sense now of "who's likely to benefit."