Clinical Perspectives

Putting Personalized Medicine Into Practice

October 06, 2016


Even though cancers may be found in the same part of the body and look similar under the microscope, we now understand they can be quite different. That’s why Moffitt Cancer Center encourages looking at every patient’s cancer as unique. We start with a precise diagnosis that tries to identify the specific DNA alternations in the tumor and then create an individualized treatment plan. Our team approach ensures a range of specialists is collaborating to look at each cancer from many perspectives. These efforts are designed to help improve outcomes, cure disease, extend survivorship and improve quality of life for patients. 

Provisions for optimizing translation of tumor genetic testing into patient treatment:

Before Testing:

Discuss the details of the test with the patient:

  • Why it is being offered, what to expect and financial implications
    • Also discuss any incidental cancer syndrome findings
  • Clinical trial options:
    • Patient preferences on type and desire to travel to trial location
  • Off-label treatment options:
    • Consult with a specialty pharmacy and payers to advance this opportunity

Selecting a Test:

What type of panel?

  • Focused panel testing:
    • Often used earlier in disease course
    • Helpful to determine common actionable mutations
  • Broad panel testing:
    • Useful for less common malignancies or later in therapy
    • Helpful to determine off label therapy and clinical trial options

What type of test?

  • Tumor biopsy:
    • Ideally should be a recent sample that reflects the current state of the disease
  • Liquid biopsy:
    • Helpful for patients not amenable to biopsy
    • Can be followed over time to assess resistance mutations and novel genetic clones
    • May be more reliable in patients with numerous metastatic sites or advanced disease  

After Testing:

  • Provide education to the patient to formulate an individualized treatment plan
  • Refer patients with possible incidental cancer syndrome findings for genetic counseling  

To refer a patient to our Genetic Risk Assessment Service, call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete our online form or reach out to a physician liaison.

Moffitt’s DeBartolo Family Personalized Medicine Institute was created in 2012 to revolutionize the discovery, delivery and effectiveness of cancer care on an international scale.