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U.S. Behind the Curve in RAS Mutation Testing

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In news from last month’s European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in Madrid, it appears that the United States lags behind the European Union in comprehensiveness of testing for RAS mutations.

Experts now agree that expanded RAS testing is needed for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Dick Arnold, MD, director of the Department of Medical Oncology at Klinik für Tumorbiologie in Freiburg, Germany, and moderator of the panel, said that such testing is now required in the EU. “We now have to identify all patients who bear a RAS mutation, which predicts those who are very unlikely to benefit from anti-epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR] treatment or may potentially be harmed by it.”

In the United States, expanded RAS testing is not a prerequisite for treatment. Alan Venook, MD, Madden Family Distinguished Professor of Medical Oncology and Translational Research at the University of California, San Francisco, said that while “most academic centers are doing” expanded RAS testing, “in the community they are not.”