Genomic testing has been made available in England for sarcoma.
These tests can help to confirm your diagnosis, identify appropriate treatments and may improve access to clinical trials and future treatments.
Routine genomic testing will be available in the future for all newly diagnosed sarcoma patients. For patients in treatment, your sarcoma team can give you more information on your eligibility for genomic tests.
Please note that current access to genomic testing is limited due to the impact of Covid-19 and the NHS backlog.
What is genomic testing?
Genomic testing can help doctors learn more about a tumour by looking at an entire genome (a complete set of genes). It can be used to understand more about a tumour and why it changes or behaves in a certain way. This can help doctors make more informed decisions about your treatment and care.
How does this benefit me?
The results from your genomic testing can help:
- Confirm your diagnosis on a genetic level
- Inform on which treatments are the most appropriate for your subtype
- Make sure you don’t receive the wrong treatment for you, some of which can have negative side effects
- Give a likely outlook on your disease so you can make informed choices on your treatment and quality of life decisions
- Identify you as eligible to receive treatments or take part in clinical trials
How is the testing done?
Genomic testing will involve taking a blood sample and a sample of your tumour. These will then be sent to a genomic laboratory for testing. Your doctor will give you your results and discuss what happens next.
What if I’m not newly diagnosed, will I be eligible for testing?
Unfortunately, genomic testing is not available for everyone with sarcoma. Tissue samples of tumours are needed to carry out these tests and not all people will have samples of their tumours available. If a sample does become available, for example, if you have a recurrence of sarcoma, then genomic testing will be carried out if your clinical team thinks it could be useful. Even without the results of a genomic test, you will still be offered the most appropriate treatment for your type of sarcoma.
Can my family be tested?
Genomic testing is not the same as genetic testing. Genomic testing for sarcoma looks at the genes in a tumour to learn more about it. Genetic tests look for inherited traits that can be passed on to the next generation through genes. In some cases, it might be appropriate to test relatives or family members, but genetic testing is not available for everyone with sarcoma.
Some genetic tests can work out someone’s risk of developing a certain cancer if the risk is inherited in the genes. There is not currently a genetic test for sarcoma. However, research into this area is ongoing.