Thursday, September 17, 2009
THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Although information about the clinical use of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) testing strategies in breast cancer patients is limited, evidence suggests that there are significant variations in testing practices and important knowledge gaps, according to a study published online Sept. 14 in Cancer.
Kathryn A. Phillips, Ph.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a literature review of HER2 test utilization to assess practice patterns and cost effectiveness.
The researchers found that there wasn't enough evidence to accurately assess how many eligible patients are tested or retested to confirm results, and how many patients with negative HER2 test results are prescribed trastuzumab. But they found some evidence suggesting that as many as 66 percent of eligible patients are not tested, 20 percent prescribed trastuzumab are not tested, and that 20 percent of HER2 results may be inaccurate. They also found that only a few studies on the cost effectiveness of trastuzumab addressed the cost effectiveness of different testing strategies.
"Our findings should not be construed as reasons for attempting to slow the diffusion of new testing technologies into clinical practice and cancer care or as a critique on oncologists' treatment decisions," the authors conclude. "Rather, this case study highlights how and what evidence might be improved to help guide decisions regarding emerging tests and associated therapies in cancer care."
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