By Kelly A. Briganti, Editorial Director, G2 Intelligence
Clinical practice guidelines addressing colorectal cancer testing were released for public comment, through the joint efforts of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The Guideline on the Evaluation of Molecular Markers for Colorectal Cancer Workgroup Draft Recommendations Summary, focuses on “the use of molecular marker testing for patients with primary or metastatic colorectal carcinoma” and aims to facilitate personalized and targeted treatment for colorectal cancer patients.
Each of the four organizations supplied a co-chair for the project and the team relied on expertise of over 25 specialists including pathologists and oncologists to prepare multi-disciplinary guidelines that address more than one marker or a limited panel of markers and more than just one clinical use. “This guideline addresses all current molecular markers that can impact treatment decisions for patients with colorectal cancer. To date, there isn’t an evidence-based guideline that’s quite as all-encompassing and patient-centered as this one,” said Stanley R. Hamilton MD, FCAP, AGAF, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, project co-chair on behalf of CAP, in a press release announcing the guideline. “While we didn’t focus on a selected set of molecular markers, we considered the overall plan-of-care from collection of tissue samples to diagnostics, treatment, and follow-up,” explained ASCP’s co-chair, Wayne W. Grody, MD, PhD (UCLA School of Medicine) in the announcement.
Indeed, the document includes recommendations on appropriate samples for testing and how testing should be performed, addressing validation and pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical phases. Other recommendations suggest which colorectal cancer molecular marker tests should be used in certain circumstances and in which cases there is insufficient evidence to support use of specific markers. The guidelines are forward-thinking as well: “Given the rapid evolution of the field, we have ‘future proofed’ the document with a research section that acknowledges molecular markers and tests on the horizon,” the announcement quotes ASCO’s project co-chair Carmen Allegra, MD, University of Florida Health Cancer Center.
The organizations welcome comments from any and all interested parties by April 22, 2015, before they finalize the recommendations for publication, anticipated later in 2015.