Should everyone with lung cancer have ALK mutation testing?
Testing is not generally indicated unless a person has non-small cell lung cancer and a medical practitioner is considering ALK kinase inhibitor drug therapy.
Is it necessary to repeat an ALK mutation test?
This is not usually necessary but might occur if the medical practitioner thought that the first sample tested might have been insufficient.
Can I receive ALK kinase inhibitor drug therapy and still not benefit from it?
Yes, most people whose lung cancer has the ALK gene rearrangement will respond, but a percentage will not. Each person and each cancer is different. Also, a person may respond initially and then become resistant to the treatment.
Can I take an ALK kinase inhibitor drug therapy without being tested?
In most cases, this is not recommended. The drugs have been developed with specific associations and your lung cancer is not likely to respond if you do not meet the identified criteria.
Can this test be performed by my local laboratory?
It may be available in some larger laboratories, but most often it will be sent to a specialised reference laboratory.
Can this test be performed on my blood instead?
No, it is not the genetics of the person that is being evaluated; it is the genetic makeup of the cancer.
Is ALK mutation testing covered by Medicare?
mutation testing can be requested by a specialist in the investigation of non-small cell lung cancer in relation to access to crizotinib under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). MBS item number 73341