The 2 platforms were also compared in terms of which drug therapies they recommended for the 9 patients in the study. In only 2 cases did both platforms recommend the same drugs, while for an astounding 6 out of 9 cases, there was no agreement at all between the 2 platforms.
These results are very concerning because these tests, and those offered by a number of other companies, are performed on many thousands of patients every year at considerable cost.
One caveat to this study is that the two testing platforms did not use the same materials. The F1 test used tumor tissue from the patients, whereas the G360 test used circulating tumor cell DNA obtained from the blood (so-called liquid biopsy). Therefore, the results may reflect, to a certain extent, what is called heterogeneity in the cancers, a subject that will be the topic of future posts.
The expensive results generated by these sorts of tests may well be misleading, if not downright meaningless.
Therefore, of what use is precision medicine if it offers nothing that is clinically useful?
1. Kuderer, NM et al. Comparison of 2 Commercially Available Next-Generation Sequencing Platforms in Oncology. JAMA Oncology December 15, 2016.