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Lung Cancer ; 165: 34-42, 2022 Jan 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654901


INTRODUCTION: The diagnostic pathway for lung cancer can be long. Availability of front-line targeted therapies for NSCLC demands access to good quality tissue for genomic sequencing and rapid reporting of results. Diagnosis of lung cancer and availability of tissue was delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: A pilot study assessing Guardant360™ cfDNA-NGS in patients with radiological-suspected advanced-stage lung cancer was performed at an academic cancer centre during COVID-19. Variants were tiered using AMP/ASCO/CAP guidelines and discussed at a tumour molecular board. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who commenced targeted treatment based on cfDNA-NGS results without tissue molecular results, predicted to be ≥ 10%. RESULTS: Between April 2020-May 2021, 51 patients were enrolled; 49 were evaluable. The median age was 71 years, 43% were never-smokers, 86% had stage IV disease. 80% of evaluable cfDNA-NGS were informative (tumour-derived cfDNA detected). cfDNA-NGS detected 30 (61%) AMP/ASCO/CAP tier 1 variants, including 20 additional tier 1 variants compared to tissue testing. Three patients with non-informative cfDNA-NGS had tier 1 variants identified on tissue testing. Eleven (22%; 95%CI 12%-27%) patients commenced targeted therapy based on cfDNA-NGS results without tissue molecular results, meeting the primary endpoint. Median time to results was shorter for cfDNA-NGS compared to standard-of-care tissue tests (9 versus 25 days, P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Blood-first cfDNA-NGS in NSCLC patients increased the breadth and rapidity of detection of actionable variants with high tissue concordance and led to timely treatment decisions. A blood-first approach should be considered to improve the speed and accuracy of therapeutic decision-making.

SN Compr Clin Med ; 3(1): 11-15, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1033198


October 11, 2020, marks the seventh month since the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Unlike other coronavirus diseases, there is a geographically disproportionate distribution of the incidence of COVID-19 cases around the world. We observed a significantly high COVID-19 cases and deaths in countries and territories with no or very small number of malaria cases or no or low national TB cases in 2018. We speculate that the high incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths in countries less affected by malaria is partly due to overexposure to malaria which led to the regular use of the artemisinin anti-malaria drugs as well as the regular use of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine for TB prevention. The vaccine produced an almost life-long immunity to TB and meningitis to its recipients. We are thus calling for a COVID-19 containment and clinical management protocol that will incorporate the use of the anti-malaria ACT drug cocktail and BCG vaccine on compassionate ground.