Oncology

Introduction

The next healthcare burden on India, in the upcoming decade, is going to be cancer. Estimates suggest that by the year 2020, India will have 11,48,757 cases of all kinds of cancers. Indians are particularly susceptible to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer as well as tobacco-related cancers, owing to the widespread use of chewable and inhalable tobacco products. Meanwhile, cancer therapy has advanced in leaps and bounds. For oncology, the range of drugs available as generic chemotherapy has expanded considerably. Additionally, there are now specific targeted therapeutic drugs that are available against specific solid tumors.

Today, cancer therapy decisions are based on understanding the ‘molecular profile’ of tumors. Just like every person has a unique fingerprint or like each item in a large store is tagged with a very specific barcode, cancer cells have unique profiles that are based on the kinds of genes expressed and proteins produced in these cells. This information can be used for choosing the right therapies as well as for understanding how well a treatment has worked for each and every patient.

Strand has a wide array of tests based on the latest, cutting-edge technologies that can support cancer therapy in many ways.

Diagnostic Tests for Cancer

  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Histopathology
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)
  • Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)

Diagnostic tests help to understand the subtypes of cancers that are diagnosed in people. Some tests use a technique called immunohistochemistry (IHC) which help to understand which proteins are produced by cancer cells. The overall appearance and subtypes of cancer cells can be judged by histopathology. Expression of genes is assessed by karyotyping and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) tests. For blood cancers, fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) tests are also available at Strand.

Prognostic / Predictive Tests

  • Tumor profiling tests – multi-gene NGS and single-gene PCR
  • Tumor progression – Liquid Biopsy
  • Cancer Biomarkers – CEA, CA-125, PSA

In cancer therapy, ongoing assessment of patient status is just as important as accurate diagnosis. Cancer therapy is also headed towards ‘personalised therapy’ where the choice of chemotherapy drugs is directed by an understanding of the genetic mutations that cause the cancer in the first place. This strategy has two distinct advantages:

  1. A patient can receive highly accurate therapy that has the highest chance of working. We strive to eliminate guesswork.
  2. Patients do not waste time and money in getting therapies that do not work against that genetic profile.

Strand offers a range of sophisticated, world-class tests based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology that provide a comprehensive ‘genetic profile’ or a ‘genetic barcode’ of a person’s cancer. The StrandAdvantage 56-gene and StrandAdvantage 152-gene tests are expressly tailored for this purpose. These tests have been used successfully to provide therapeutic options to thousands of patients.

In addition to multi-gene NGS tests, we also offer fast and economical PCR-based single gene tests for tumor profiling as well.

Liquid biopsy tests help in understanding the response of the patient to delivered therapies, at desired time intervals during the course of therapy. These are fast, accurate and economical tests that require only a small blood sample.

Protein biomarkers like CEA, CA-125 and PSA can also be tested at Strand.

Routine / Supportive Tests

  • Liver function test – LFT
  • Kidney function test – KFT
  • Complete blood count – CBC

Doctors recommend tests like liver function test (LFT), kidney function test (KFT) and complete blood count (CBC) to understand a patient’s overall health between successive rounds of chemotherapy. All these tests can also be done at any one of our 12 diagnostic laboratories across the country.

Hereditary Risk Prediction Test

Most cancers are incidental and are caused by chance and exposure to cancer-causing substances. There are some genetic factors that increase a person’s chances of suffering from cancer, because of hereditary mutations. Predictive Germline Cancer tests are available to understand if a person bears such mutations in their genome.