Investing in the future: Improving cancer biomarker testing and cancer diagnosis for sustainable healthcare, is a new White Paper co-authored by a team of medical and patient advocacy experts, including representatives from the ECPC, Oncohealth Institute and Fight Bladder Cancer.

The White Paper calls for increased access to cancer biomarker testing, to identify those who will benefit most from precision cancer medicines.

Also referred to as ‘pan-tumor’ or ‘tumor-agnostic’ treatments, personalised cancer medicines target the specific mutated gene that is driving the cancer, regardless of the tumor’s location in the body, with the potential to improve patient outcomes in a cost-effective way.

Pan-tumor medicines can spare patients time spent taking unnecessary treatments and their side-effects, and can also support wider healthcare efficiencies by avoiding wasted costs on non-effective treatments.

Despite clear benefits for patients and healthcare systems, there are significant disparities in access to testing: a recent ECPC survey of 1,665 patients revealed that only 32% of patients in Europe are currently offered biomarker testing.1

To address these issues, the White Paper sets out four clear calls to action:

  1. Improve biomarker literacy through educational activities about the value of testing, sharing best practice and ensuring patient inclusivity in informed decision making;
  2. Position diagnostic testing as integral to regulatory frameworks, with ongoing evaluation of outputs to measure value and cost-effectiveness of testing to strengthen the case for more testing;
  3. Listen to the science by leveraging new science, clinical research data and treatment advances as a bedrock of discussions, partnering with medical associations and medical regulators to include testing in clinical trial protocols, informing peers and partners about the dedicated specialized testing centers, calling for standardized testing and best practices, and utilizing resources with the best cost-benefit ratio;
  4. Collaborate with professional and political experts to improve crosstalk among decision makers and petitioning for resources to fund more testing, while remaining realistic as to what can be achieved.

Contributors to the White Paper were: Antonella Cardone, Director, European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC); Professor Jesus Garcia-Foncillas, MD, PHD, Director, Oncohealth Institute and University Hospital “Fundacion Jimenez Diaz” Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain; Dr Lydia Makaroff, CEO, Fight Bladder Cancer, UK, and Vice-President, World Bladder Cancer Patient Coalition, Belgium; Dr Pietro Presti, MBA, PHD, Vice-President European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC); Dr Albrecht Stenzinger, MD, Pathologist, Institute of Pathology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany; Professor Gilles Vassal, Pediatric Oncologist and Director of Clinical Research at Gustave Roussy, Villejuif.

The White Paper can be found here.