CBLPath Bolsters Cancer Management with New NRAS Gene Mutation Analysis Assay

Molecular Test Is Important Clinical Indicator for Certain Cancers

7/19/2012

RYE BROOK, N.Y. — As part of a fundamental commitment to support physicians in the management of cancer, CBLPath announces today its launch of in-house NRAS Mutation Analysis testing. This molecular assay screens for clinically relevant genetic mutations that may be present in cases of colorectal cancer, melanoma and thyroid cancer, thus helping oncologists make an accurate diagnosis and the most appropriate treatment decisions for affected patients.

“Our new polymerase chain reaction, or PCR-based test uses the latest sequencing technology to detect NRAS genetic aberrations in a timely and accurate manner, aiding molecular classification of disease and consequently impacting patient prognosis and therapeutic efficacy,” said Co-CEO and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Carlos D. Urmacher, FCAP, FASCP.

“We’re pleased to add NRAS to our powerful arsenal of biomarker-centered diagnostics that are advancing the practice of personalized medicine. It’s truly a ‘win-win’ for oncologists, who can provide better medicine, faster with our testing and for their patients who receive customized care and targeted treatment based on their individual molecular profiles.”

The NRAS gene (Neuroblastoma RAS Viral Oncogene Homolog Gene) encodes the NRAS enzyme, which is member of RAS family of proteins. (RAS is an abbreviation for Rat sarcoma, where these proteins were first found.) RAS family members belong to a class of proteins called small GTPases, which carry out a pivotal role in many vital biological processes within the human body, acting as molecular switches to transmit signals within cells. NRAS itself plays a key part in the MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) cellular signaling pathway, which is involved in the regulation of cell growth, differentiation and survival.

CBLPath’s NRAS sequencing assay detects variation in codons 12, 13 and 61 of the NRAS oncogene that may be present in colorectal cancer, melanoma and thyroid cancer patients.

In patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, the occurrence of NRAS mutations may be predictive of non-response to anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) therapies such as cetuximab and panitumumab. The presence of activating mutations in the cell signaling pathway has been shown to impact the body’s ability to respond to these cancer treatments.

In melanoma patients, NRAS mutations may indicate that a tumor will respond favorably to drugs that target genes downstream of NRAS in the MAPK cell signaling pathway, including RAF and MEK.

In thyroid cancer patients, RAS genetic mutations — particularly NRAS — have been detected in up to 40% of follicular thyroid carcinomas and up to 10% of papillary thyroid carcinomas.

These genetic variants are also found frequently in follicular adenomas. Accordingly, a patient’s RAS mutation status must be correlated with morphologic and clinical findings. This is especially important for patients with follicular thyroid tumors, as RAS mutations may be associated with more aggressive disease.

To speak with your local CBLPath representative about ordering NRAS Mutation Analysis testing, call 877.225.7284. To see the company’s entire array of tests, visit www.CBLPath.com and click Test Menu.

About CBLPath
CBLPath is a national specialty lab with a unique leadership position in the convergence of anatomic, molecular and digital pathology. Beginning from a clinical perspective, we harness molecular testing and digital pathology on an anatomic pathology foundation. CBLPath is committed to helping our clients deliver better medicine, faster. At our core are pathologists; excited about technology and innovation and its promise of helping patients. Through the Best Practice™ Partnership Program we help our pathologist-clients effectively compete against centralized reference laboratories, grow their Practice and remain independent — Keeping Medicine Local™. We provide our subspecialty physician clients comprehensive diagnostics and timely, accurate reports enabling the best patient care. For more about the company, please visit www.CBLPath.com.