Upfront Next Generation Sequencing in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Curr Oncol. 2022 Jun 22;29(7):4428-4437. doi: 10.3390/curroncol29070352.


In advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), patients with actionable genomic alterations may derive additional clinical benefit from targeted treatment compared to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Current guidelines recommend extensive testing with next generation sequencing (NGS) panels. We investigated the impact of using a targeted NGS panel (TruSight Tumor 15, Illumina) as reflex testing for NSCLC samples at a single institution. Molecular analysis examined 15 genes for hotspot mutation variants, including AKT1, BRAF, EGFR, ERBB2, FOXL2, GNA11, GNAQ, KIT, KRAS, MET, NRAS, PDGFRA, PIK3CA, RET and TP53 genes. Between February 2017 and October 2020, 1460 samples from 1395 patients were analyzed. 1201 patients (86.1%) had at least one variant identified, most frequently TP53 (47.5%), KRAS (32.2%) or EGFR (24.2%). Among these, 994 patients (71.3%) had clinically relevant variants eligible for treatment with approved therapies or clinical trial enrollment. The incremental cost of NGS beyond single gene testing (EGFR, ALK) was CAD $233 per case. Reflex upfront NGS identified at least one actionable variant in more than 70% of patients with NSCLC, with minimal increase in testing cost. Implementation of NGS panels remains essential as treatment paradigms continue to evolve.

Keywords: Canada; genomic alterations; lung cancer; next generation sequencing.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / pathology
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Mutation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)