Minimizing inequality in access to precision medicine in breast cancer by real‐time population‐based molecular analysis in the SCAN‐B initiative. BJS 2018; 105: e158-e168.

Published: 17th January 2018

Authors: L. Rydén, N. Loman, C. Larsson, C. Hegardt, J. Vallon‐Christersson, M. Malmberg et al.

Background

Selection of systemic therapy for primary breast cancer is currently based on clinical biomarkers along with stage. Novel genomic tests are continuously being introduced as more precise tools for guidance of therapy, although they are often developed for specific patient subgroups. The Sweden Cancerome Analysis Network – Breast (SCAN‐B) initiative aims to include all patients with breast cancer for tumour genomic analysis, and to deliver molecular subtype and mutational data back to the treating physician.

Method

An infrastructure for collection of blood and fresh tumour tissue from all patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer was set up in 2010, initially including seven hospitals within the southern Sweden regional catchment area, which has 1.8 million inhabitants. Inclusion of patients was implemented into routine clinical care, with collection of tumour tissue at local pathology departments for transport to the central laboratory, where routines for rapid sample processing, RNA sequencing and biomarker reporting were developed.

Results

More than 10 000 patients from nine hospitals have currently consented to inclusion in SCAN‐B with high (90 per cent) inclusion rates from both university and secondary hospitals. Tumour samples and successful RNA sequencing are being obtained from more than 70 per cent of patients, showing excellent representation compared with the national quality registry as a truly population‐based cohort. Molecular biomarker reports can be delivered to multidisciplinary conferences within 1 week.

Conclusion

Population‐based collection of fresh tumour tissue is feasible given a decisive joint effort between academia and collaborative healthcare groups, and with governmental support. An infrastructure for genomic analysis and prompt data output paves the way for novel systemic therapy for patients from all hospitals, irrespective of size and location.

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