Molecular Profiling Practices in Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: Academic vs Community Physicians

Oncology (Williston Park). 2021 May 12;35(5):244-248. doi: 10.46883/ONC.2021.3505.0244.


Background: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is relatively rare but highly aggressive, with most patients diagnosed once they have metastatic or locally invasive disease. Molecular profiling is being explored as a tool for selecting patients for targeted therapy clinical trials and for assessing whether targeted therapies may be effective in PDAC. Whether molecular profiling is being performed at both academic and community oncology clinics has yet to be examined. Here, we characterized the molecular profiling practice patterns in patients with PDAC in academic versus community practices in Denver, Colorado. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed records of all patients with refractory, metastatic PDAC who were referred to a tertiary clinical trials drug development unit in Denver between 2014 and 2019. Results: Of 77 patients, 41 (55%) were men with a mean age of 65 years (SD, 9.3). Fifty-three patients (69%) were referred from the community and 20 (26%) from academic centers; 4 (5%) were self-referred. A total of 51% received profiling prior to referral; 29 of 50 (58%) were from the community and 10 of 21 (47%) from academic settings. Guardant was the most commonly ordered test (47 of 77; 61%); FoundationOne was the second most common (40 of 77; 52%). Twenty-three of 77 patients (30%) received both Guardant and FoundationOne testing, and 3 of 77 (4%) received Caris MI Profile. One patient received a Mocha assay and another received Ascend/Clarient fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Four patients were self-referred, 2 of whom underwent both Guardant and FoundationOne, 1 who underwent Guardant testing only, and 1 who did not receive any molecular profiling testing. Conclusions: This study characterizes molecular profiling practice patterns in individuals with advanced PDAC who were referred to a tertiary clinical trials drug development unit. Both academic and community physicians were found to order profiling about 50% of the time. Further research is needed to determine impact on clinical trial enrollment and detection of PDAC.