Precision Medicine

Home Facing Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Treatment Types Precision Medicine

Every pancreatic cancer patient is different. Patients who receive treatment based on their biology can live longer. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network strongly recommends all pancreatic cancer patients get genetic testing for inherited mutations as soon as possible after diagnosis and biomarker testing of their tumor tissue to help determine the best treatment options.

On This Page

What Is Precision Medicine?

Precision medicine is treatment based on your biology.

Biomarker testing of tumor tissue reveals your tumor’s biology, such as genes and proteins within the tumor. Genetic testing for inherited mutations shows mutations (changes) you were born with.

This information can help your doctor identify precision treatments for you.

Patients should discuss both tests with their care team. The tests can be available through their treating institution or PanCAN’s Know Your Tumor® precision medicine service.

What Is Biomarker Testing?

Biomarker testing of tumor tissue tells you about the biology of your tumor. It is also sometimes called molecular profiling, tumor testing or genomic testing. A tissue sample is collected through a biopsy and analyzed. It can show changes in the tumor’s genes or proteins. Your doctor may be able to use this information to make treatment decisions.

What Is Genetic Testing for Inherited Mutations?

Genetic testing looks for inherited mutations. You may have been born with inherited mutations even if you don’t have a family history of cancer.

The alterations to a person’s DNA are the same throughout their whole body. So, this analysis is usually done on a blood or saliva sample.

Like knowing the changes in your tumor, knowing the changes present in all the cells in your body can also help you and your healthcare team make treatment decisions.

Genetic testing for inherited mutations can also inform family members of risk.

Why Is Precision Medicine Important?

  • Patients who receive treatment based on their biology can live longer.
  • All pancreatic cancer patients are different, and treatment that works well for one person may not work as well for someone else.
  • Many factors influence a person’s response to treatment, including age, stage of diagnosis, your biology and the tumor’s biology.
  • Knowing the alterations in your tumor or throughout your body can help you and your healthcare team select treatment options, including clinical trials, that are likely to work best for you. These treatments may not have been considered otherwise.
  • Precision medicine also benefits future patients. Researchers are studying precision medicine to discover new information about tumors and treatments that can help even more patients.

“Targeting the treatment to the tumor mutation has made a huge difference in the quality of my life and in my scan results.”

— Linda, survivor

Who Should Consider Precision Medicine?

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network strongly recommends that all pancreatic cancer patients get tumor biomarker testing and genetic testing for inherited mutations as soon as possible after diagnosis to help determine the best treatment options.

How Do I Know if I’ve Had Tumor Biomarker Testing?

Your doctor may have done several tests on your tumor, so it is important to know if one of those tests was biomarker testing.

  • Ask your doctor if biomarker testing has been performed on your tumor and if they have used the results to make a treatment decision.
  • Patient Central can help explain different types of pancreatic cancer testing.
  • If you’ve already had biomarker or genetic testing, Patient Central can help you understand your results and give you information on treatment options, including clinical trials.

When Should I Get Testing?

Pancreatic cancer patients should get tumor biomarker testing and genetic testing as early as possible after diagnosis. However, testing can happen at any time.

Because tissue is needed to perform tumor biomarker testing, a doctor must determine the best way to collect a sample. If you are having your tumor surgically removed, tissue from the surgery may be used. In most other cases, a specific type of biopsy, called a core biopsy, is needed.

If you are currently on treatment, you can get testing at the same time so that you have the information if you need to make a future treatment decision.

How Do I Get Testing for Precision Medicine?

Your Doctor
Your doctor or hospital may offer testing, especially if you are seen at a high-volume center. Get resources through Patient Central to help you talk to your doctor.
Know Your Tumor
If you can’t get testing through your doctor or hospital, consider our Know Your Tumor precision medicine service.

 

Contact Patient Central to learn more about testing, precision medicine or Know Your Tumor.
Contact Us

Wage Hope With Us

Join us to make a difference for pancreatic cancer patients.





shop purple logo

Gear, apparel, accessories and more to show off your purple pride.


Shop Now 

©2020 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Pancreatic Cancer Action Network®, PanCAN®, PurpleStride®, Wage Hope®, Know Your Tumor®, Powerful Knowledge. Personal Treatment.®, Precision Promise℠ and Demand Better For Patients. For Survival.℠ are the trademarks of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Inc.


The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is registered as a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Contributions to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s tax identification number is #33-0841281.