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Genetic Re-Testing: Can Lung Cancer Mutations Change Over Time?

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Published on April 12, 2019

Can lung cancer patients develop different genetic mutations after treatment? Noted lung cancer expert Dr. Lecia Sequist, from Harvard Medical School, and patient advocate Janet Freeman-Daily discuss driver mutations found in those living with lung cancer, the potential for developing multiple mutations and recommended frequency of genetic testing. Care partner Jessica Wittebort also joins the conversation to share advice on staying up-to-date with the latest testing and treatments available. 

The Living Well With Lung Cancer series is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power. We thank Celgene Corporation, Genentech, Helsinn and Novartis for their support.

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Transcript | Genetic Re-Testing: Can Lung Cancer Mutations Change Over Time?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Now, once a patient is on a targeted drug you can think of it like evolution, like survival of the fittest. So a drug is exerting pressure on the cancer, many cells are dying, but sometimes a cell will have a certain characteristic that allows it to live through the drug treatment, and then from there a resistant tumor can grow.  And so second mutations or second pathways can become activated after patients have been treated with certain drugs.  And the more drugs that people have been exposed to over time the more different subpopulations that might have varying signatures come up.  

But you never lose that original mutation.  It's something that is always carried forward.  It's just what else piles on top of it across the different arms.  I describe it as different arms of the family or cousins.  Like this tumor is a cousin of that tumor because they do have some different characteristics but still that same core characteristic.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.