Mayo Clinic launches 50-gene cancer panel test

Volume 3, Issue 3, 2014


A new test scans genes for mutations that help physicians customize cancer therapy.

Photograph of Benjamin R. Kipp, Ph.D., molecular geneticist, Mayo Clinic

Benjamin R. Kipp, Ph.D.

Mayo Clinic has developed a new 50-gene cancer panel test to help tailor chemotherapy to the needs of individual patients based on the unique genomic signature of each patient's tumor.

The test, called CANCP, an abbreviation for Solid Tumor Targeted Cancer Gene Panel by Next Generation Sequencing, scans specific regions in 50 genes known to affect tumor growth and response to chemotherapy. The test is now available to Mayo Clinic patients and to providers worldwide through Mayo Clinic Laboratories.

Every patient's cancer is different, and oncology is moving away from treating cancer based on its location in the body in favor of selecting the best medication for the individual patient based on molecular changes in the tumor, Mayo Clinic physician-researchers said. This test helps providers identify such molecular changes without infusing irrelevant details from genes that we know will not affect our choice of medications.

The CANCP test is a hotspot panel, which means it scans specific regions of individual genes — rather than the entire gene — in search of tumor mutations that influence response to chemotherapy. The test is designed for testing solid tumors and focuses on cancer-causing gene mutations that can be treated with drugs.

"We worked closely with oncologists, pathologists and molecular geneticists to develop and implement a next-generation sequencing assay that will have actionable results for providers," said Benjamin R. Kipp, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic molecular geneticist and CANCP's lead designer. "This test focuses on results that oncologists can use to help find the right drug the first time."

Testing is conducted in the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified Next-Generation Sequencing Lab of the Mayo Clinic Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. This is the second next-generation sequencing panel test offered by the department and Mayo Medical Laboratories. The other is a 17-gene screening test for hereditary colorectal cancers. Both tests were developed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.