Oncology is increasingly moving toward a personalized treatment approach, enlisting predictive biomarkers to guide therapy choice. This trend is already being felt in indications as varied as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and malignant melanoma, and is affecting uptake of key brands. In addition, multiple emerging therapies in the oncology pipeline, such as Novartis’s Zykadia (ceritinib) and Amgen’s rilotumumab, hope to benefit from biomarker-driven prescribing.
Predictive biomarkers give oncologists more confidence that a patient will respond to a therapy. Biomarker testing also means that payers do not have to reimburse therapies that will not work in biomarker-negative patients, allowing funds to be allocated more efficiently. However, problems can arise in obtaining sufficient high-quality tissue from a biopsy in order to perform biomarker testing, and delays in receiving results of biomarker tests can adversely affect prescribing of biomarker-driven therapies. Furthermore, how biomarker tests are reimbursed will in turn impact uptake of biomarker-driven therapies.