Portuguese Consensus Recommendations for Next-Generation Sequencing of Lung Cancer, Rare Tumors, and Cancers of Unknown Primary Origin in Clinical Practice

Manuel R. Teixeira, Júlio Oliveira, Paula Borralho, Maria Gabriela O. Fernandes, Teresa Almodovar, Isabel Fernandes, Daniela Macedo, Ana Ferreira, Ana Barroso, Encarnação Teixeira, José Carlos Machado


Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has been implemented in clinical oncology for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic guidance. Among the various NGS applications in molecular oncology, we focused on the following topics: laboratory standards for targeted gene panels (somatic mutations) and therapeutic guidance based on NGS of lung cancer and rare cancers, namely sarcomas and cancers of unknown primary. Multiple quality control checkpoints should be addressed in the pre-analytical phase for good quality and interpretation of the NGS results. It includes tumor size and cellularity, tissue processing and decalcification, tumor fraction, tumor viability, fixatives, and staining. Communication between clinicians and laboratory support is also essential. In lung cancer, all patients with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer should be tested with a NGS panel, and it should include not only genes with approved targeted therapies (ALK, BRAF, EGFR, MET, NTRK, RET, and ROS1) but also genes with potentially actionable genomic alterations (HER2 and KRAS). Since there is a lack of extensive knowledge regarding the use of NGS in rare tumors performing comprehensive genomic profiling, NGS panels to better manage the disease are recommended. Moreover, other patients with other incurable solid tumors may benefit from being included in biomarker-driven clinical trials. Multidisciplinary tumor boards with the participation of experts with the ability to integrate genomic profiling data are essential to tailor the best strategy for each patient. Considering that there are no national guidelines, this article aims to guide laboratory and clinical practice for the use of NGS in the context of lung cancer, rare tumors, and cancer of unknown primary in Portugal.


High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing; Lung Neoplasms/genetics; Neoplasms, Unknown Primary/genetics; Sarcoma/genetics

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