Hematology-Oncology Services, Santa Cabrini Hospital; Oncology Services, Royal Victoria Hospital and Montreal General Hospital; and Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC.
Lung cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed malignancies and the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in Canada. The heterogeneity of nsclc and the importance of linking new targeted agents to the appropriate disease subtype require an individualized approach to treatment. In patients with EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor gene) mutations, egfr tyrosine kinase inhibitors (tkis) provide a highly effective treatment option, with improved toxicity compared with standard chemotherapy. However, the identification of mutation-positive patients is limited by a lack of funding for testing. The length of time required to receive test results and insufficient tissue from biopsies are additional limitations. In Canada, the use of egfr-tkis varies based on differences in provincial funding for both testing and treatment. With improvements in testing and access to funding for treatment, targeted use of egfr-tkis may greatly improve outcomes in nsclc.