Lung Cancer Tumor Testing | American Lung Association

Lung Cancer Tumor Testing

Generously supported by AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim and Novartis.

Lung cancer tumor testing—sometimes referred to as molecular, biomarker or genomic testing—look for changes (mutations) in the tumor's DNA. Some lung cancer treatments can "target" these mutations directly. These lung cancer treatments often cause fewer side effects because they focus on targeting what is exactly wrong with the cancer cell, instead of killing normal, healthy cells too.

Key Points

  • Mutations or changes in the cell can cause the cell to grow abnormally.
  • Tumor testing can sometimes find what exact mutations are in the cancer cell.
  • When doctors have this information, they may suggest treatment that targets the mutation in the cells.
  • Lung cancer tumor testing is a promising field but does not guarantee a cure for lung cancer.

What You Need to Know About Tumor Testing

What is tumor testing? What exactly should I be asking my doctor about it? Learn more about how tumor testing works, who benefits from it and what you need to discuss with your doctor in our question and answer guide to lung cancer tumor testing. Read What You Need to Know About Tumor Testing questions and answers.

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Talk to your doctor about testing your tumor. Download a list of suggested questions.

Understanding Targeted Therapy

The results of tumor testing may show mutations that can help determine what treatment options would be best for you. If doctors know exactly what causes the tumor to grow, a patient may be able to go on a "targeted" therapy that can slow tumor growth or shrink the tumor.

Hear Dr. Edward Kim talk about how targeted therapies relate to lung cancer treatment. Watch video.

    Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 18, 2017.

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