What is biomarker testing?
A biomarker is a characteristic that can be scientifically measured or evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic processes, disease, or response to therapeutic intervention. The major types of biomarkers include molecular, histologic, radiographic, and physiologic characteristics. Examples of biomarkers include blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and imaging results. As the field of precision medicine grows, the focus on genetic biomarkers has grown as well. The following sections will focus on biomarker testing in oncology.
Biomarker testing (also known as mutation, genomic, or molecular testing) uses laboratory tests to help the health care team gather as much information as possible about a patient’s cancer and uncover whether the patient has an actionable mutation. Four categories of biomarker testing include: predisposition, diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive: