Return to CAP Home
Printable Version

  Molecular Testing for Cancer Prognosis
  and Outcome

 

Posted October 5, 2007

Statement

The College of American Pathologists supports the appropriate use of molecular testing by pathologists for accurate cancer diagnosis and patient prognosis.

Information Highlights

  • Pathologists are doctors who identify and diagnose cancers and other diseases.
  • New scientific advances have helped us to understand cancers at the molecular level, and pathologists are translating these advances into new molecular tests to help you and your doctor manage your disease.
  • Specifically, molecular testing allows pathologists to better diagnose certain cancers and gives your oncologist important information on how the cancer is expected to act. Furthermore, molecular testing allows pathologists to monitor the tumor over time, so that the therapy’s effectiveness and the risk of relapse can be estimated.
  • Such tests are now available for leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, and various other cancers.
  • New research by pathologists suggests that additional tests can be developed for other cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • These tests can be run by pathologists in their laboratories by using blood samples or portions of the cancer tissue.
  • The results of the tests, when reviewed by your pathologist and primary care doctors, can help them to decide if you have cancer, how aggressive the cancer is, what drugs, surgery, or radiation could be used to best treat the cancers, and whether the tumor has been eradicated after treatment.