Testing Methods and Tumor Profiling

How your cancer is identified

There are many ways to diagnose cancer. Utilizing various methods can be important to creating a comprehensive understanding of your cancer and to help expose cancer in challenging situations. Your provider may order one or more method to determine your cancer's diagnosis and prognosis.

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Morphology

A microscopic examination of blood, bone marrow, or thin slices of tissue. Various routine stains are applied to help distinguish the tissue layers and components of different types of cells throughout the sample.

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Immunohistochemistry (IHC)

IHC testing is a special staining process that can identify cancer cells, the cell types, and how advanced the cancer is by the type of cells and their concentration in the sample. A pathologist needs to have an initial hunch of what the diagnosis is to form his or her next questions and choose IHC stains effectively.

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Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry is a method that analyzes cells using fluorescent markers and light. When cells are seen this dilated way, it can help detect abnormalities and identify healthy vs. diseased cells. Flow cytometry is often used for diagnosing blood cancers, cell counting and detecting biomarkers.

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FISH/Cytogenetics

Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (FISH) and cytogenetics look for genetic changes in cells. FISH testing gives pathologists a deeper look into the genetics of a cell identifying abnormalities. This deeper look can help in determining diagnosis, prognosis and treatment selection.

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Molecular

Molecular testing is at the heart of precision medicine. Also known as genomic testing, molecular tests can uncover genetic alterations or mutations that are causing your cells to malfunction leading to the development of cancer. Molecular tests can be done alongside other laboratory tests to help diagnose, treatment plan and monitor how well a treatment is working.

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Liquid Biopsy

Liquid biopsy, also known as fluid biopsy, is the process of analyzing a sample that is primarily blood. Liquid biopsy is non-invasive and is used as a diagnostic and monitoring tool. Due to their noninvasive nature, liquid biopsies can be done more frequently by your provider if appropriate for your disease. Liquid biopsies can also help your care team validate the efficiency of your cancer treatment and identify early progression.

Tumor Profiling

Identifying a cancer’s unique hallmarks

Tumor profiling [often called genomic profiling, molecular profiling, or biomarker testing] is a laboratory test to check for gene mutations or other alterations that makeup the tumor biology and underlie the cancer growth. This information can help physicians build a personalized treatment plan based on the tumor profile.

Each patient’s cancer has a unique genetic barcode. Blood cancers (like leukemia and lymphoma) as well as solid tumor cancers (such as breast and colon cancer) can carry unique mutations. While many patients could have the same official diagnosis, such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML), there are often underlying genetic variations in the cancer cells that make one patient’s lung cancer or leukemia different from the next patient’s.

The contribution of cancer research and clinical trials continuously advance the cancer landscape to be able to identify a cancer’s unique biological drivers and initiate the right treatment for the right patient. This is what is known as precision medicine.

Having tumor profiling, also known as biomarker testing, is a detailed and sensitive laboratory analysis of the cancer cells. The purpose of this testing exposes specific biomarker mutations, and identify targeted therapies matched to any found mutations. Tumor profiling can help guide and identify the most effective treatment plan. NeoGenomics Laboratories provides genetic profiling of a patient’s cancer to identify its unique biological drivers and weaknesses.

Studies have shown that over 60% of patients have a detectable abnormality, with the majority being actionable and associated with a targeted therapy.

Consult with your Health Care Provider to determine if biomarker testing is best for you.

Frequently asked questions