Blood-based test offers more precise treatment prognosis to inform treatment choice, improve physician-patient communication, and address payment program quality measures
Findings published in the peer-reviewed journal Managed Care showed that prognostic information provided by the Biodesix® VeriStrat test can improve care for lung cancer patients and assist physicians in meeting several quality measures associated with the Oncology Care Model (OCM) payment program. Results are from a comprehensive literature review conducted to assess the completeness of prognostic indicators commonly used in lung cancer, as well as the value of the proteomic VeriStrat biomarker test in addressing unmet prognostic needs.
“We found that there is near universal consensus in guidelines and literature regarding the critical importance and value of early, candid and ongoing physician-patient discussions about prognosis,” said David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health and a study author. “Unfortunately, traditional prognostic indicators such as patient-performance status and population statistics often provide an incomplete picture specifically related to lung cancer. Our review suggests that validated tools such as the VeriStrat test can help to bridge this gap and may assist physicians in guiding more precise treatment decisions to meet the requirements of cancer-care quality measures such as those in the OCM.”
The authors surveyed literature from 1997-2017 to understand the value of prognosis in cancer-care planning for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and to investigate how the results of the validated VeriStrat test can help physicians participating in the OCM meet the model’s specific quality measures. Three of the authors also integrated relevant case studies from their own real-world clinical experience with VeriStrat.
The resulting manuscript concludes that VeriStrat may help physicians establish prognosis in NSCLC, guide optimal treatment decisions, predict expected response to treatment, avoid costly and ineffective treatment, and identify patients for whom best supportive care may be most appropriate.
“VeriStrat can address physicians’ need for a prognostic tool that can inform treatment decisions at all stages. Patients with a poor prognosis can be identified in early stages, allowing physicians to choose treatment that is best suited for more aggressive cancer,” said David Brunel, Biodesix CEO. “It’s gratifying that this comprehensive, independent review has determined that this test provides a wide range of meaningful benefits for physicians, patients and their caregivers.”
When lacking precise prognostic tools, physicians may find it difficult to have candid conversations with patients, their families, and their caregivers about prognosis. Many patients therefore do not understand the implications of prognosis with respect to curative versus palliative therapy. Accurate prognostic tools such as VeriStrat are useful for predicting and documenting expected response to treatment, avoiding ineffective and costly overtreatment, and facilitating meaningful conversations with patients about the timing of best supportive care when appropriate, all of which may improve cancer-care planning and quality scores under the OCM.
VeriStrat has been shown to provide accurate predictions of patient response in all lines of therapy and in various treatments for patients with NSCLC, including chemotherapies and EGFR-TKI therapies. It is the only test available that delivers this type of prognostic information. “Accurate prognostic tools can help facilitate shared patient-physician discussions, including conversations about the difficult tradeoffs that must be made between aggressive treatment, life extension and quality of life,” said Dr. Nash. “We have also found that they also can be a critical tool for healthcare providers in complying with multiple components of cancer-care plans and quality measures.”
The VeriStrat® Test
Biodesix’s VeriStrat test is a predictive and prognostic blood-based proteomic test for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The test is used to assess disease aggressiveness by characterizing host response to the tumor, classifying patients as either VeriStrat-Good or VeriStrat-Poor. VeriStrat test results are available to ordering physicians within 72 hours.
Biodesix® is a molecular diagnostics company advancing the development of innovative blood tests in oncology to enable precision medicine. Biodesix discovers, develops and commercializes multivariate protein and genomic diagnostic blood tests, including the GeneStrat™ and VeriStrat® tests that deliver results within 72 hours. The company is changing the standard of care by providing physicians with diagnostic tests for better therapeutic guidance, more accurate prognosis and enhanced disease monitoring to improve patient outcomes. At the forefront of precision medicine, Biodesix is developing new blood tests to identify patients who may benefit from immunotherapies. In addition to developing novel diagnostics independently, the company partners with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to develop companion diagnostics for use with therapeutic agents.
 The Oncology Care Model (OCM) is a payment model from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services designed to reduce costs and improve quality in cancer care. OCM places strong emphasis on patient-centered communication and shared decision making.