sutures newsletter


New Cancer Gene Sequencing Panels

focuspanels 270px

This chip is used in the new CS-Focus Panels to sequence base pairs of DNA.

The Molecular Pathology laboratory at Cedars-Sinai has developed a set of focused, DNA next-generation sequencing (NGS) panels that can rapidly scan tissue samples for potentially treatable mutations in a variety of cancers. These panels are available to Cedars-Sinai physicians to help them design more effective therapies.

Five panels, called CS-Focus Panels, have been developed for the rapid molecular diagnosis of lung cancer, colorectal cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, melanoma and central nervous system tumors. These panels, which each contain from two to 10 of the most common cancer genes for each type of tumor, can be completed in days. They complement a larger, more comprehensive, cancer gene panel, which requires about two weeks to complete. This panel also is offered by the Molecular Pathology laboratory and other laboratories.

Although the CS-Focus Panels analyze only a handful of genes for each cancer type, these genes contain most of the mutations for which there are FDA-approved targeted drug therapies. The larger panel detects even more mutations, including some that might be relevant to off-label uses of an approved drug and clinical trials.

These special panels use NGS, a method that can quickly and quantitatively determine the sequences of hundreds of thousands of individual DNA molecules in a small-tissue biopsy. In a biopsy sample that contains both normal cells and cancer cells, both normal and mutant cancer gene sequences are detected.

David Engman, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, said his department has performed hundreds of CS-Focus Panels over the last several months with a high rate of success. "More than 70 percent of these panels have pointed to a specific therapy for our patients," he said.

The panels were developed by a team that included Jean Lopategui, MD, associate professor of Pathology and medical director of Molecular Pathology and Clinical Cytogenetics; James (Jianbo) Song, PhD, director of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory and associate director of the Cytogenomics Laboratory; and Andy Pao, technical manager and supervisor of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai.

To request this new service, physicians may call 310-423-5326.