Optimizing molecular testing of lung cancer needle biopsy specimens: potential solutions from an interdisciplinary qualitative study.
BACKGROUND: Molecular testing can detect actionable genomic alterations and tumor cell surface proteins in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, utilization remains suboptimal, representing missed treatment opportunities. This study aimed to identify challenges and potential solutions to obtaining percutaneous lung needle biopsy specimens for successful molecular testing in patients with advanced NSCLC.
METHODS: This interdisciplinary qualitative study included ten radiologists and four pathologists from academic and community settings across the United States who routinely perform and analyze percutaneous lung needle biopsies. Participants underwent semi-structured one-on-one interviews (Phase 1). Interview questionnaires were constructed based on a literature review of key lines of inquiry and conducted by professional market researchers using the theoretical domains framework. Primary barriers to molecular testing were identified using thematic analysis. Subsequently, multidisciplinary focus groups were convened to identify potential solutions (Phase 2).
RESULTS: Four themes emerged as barriers to molecular testing and were matched to the clinical workflow: (1) biopsy request, (2) biopsy procedure, (3) specimen analysis, and (4) communication. The nineteen potential solutions included adding a "checkbox" to indicate molecular testing in the biopsy request, leveraging pre-procedural imaging to guide biopsies, conserving tissue through appropriate allocation strategies and next generation sequencing panels instead of sequential single-gene assays, instituting reflex-molecular testing upon NSCLC diagnosis, tracking and communicating biopsy outcomes at multidisciplinary tumor boards, and improving integration of radiologists and pathologists into oncology care teams.
CONCLUSIONS: Potential solutions exist to increase successful molecular testing of lung needle biopsy specimens in patients with advanced NSCLC.
Fintelmann FJ, Martin NA, Tahir I, Quinn EM, Allen TC, Joseph L, et al. Optimizing molecular testing of lung cancer needle biopsy specimens: potential solutions from an interdisciplinary qualitative study. Respir Res. 2023 Jan 17;24(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s12931-023-02321-9. PMID: 36650544.