How Genetic Panels Work

Learn about tumour DNA sequencing

How is Genetic Cancer Testing Done?


DNA sequencing panels provide incredibly detailed information about the unique gene mutations that are driving your cancer. When analyzed by an expert, this data enables us to choose the most effective targeted therapies for your form of cancer. That’s why CTOAM facilitates genetic testing for all our clients, and the tests we send you for are the most comprehensive panels available.

  • DNA sequencing panels:
    • Explore up to 700 possible mutations
    • Produce quality data
    • Are reasonably priced
    • Have the best turnaround time for results
DNA Strand

When getting a detailed genetic tumour analysis done, you must:

  1. Choose the Best Genetic Panel
    Not all DNA sequencing panels are alike. You must get one that explores the most mutations, such as the one CTOAM helps you access, for the most accurate results.
    • CTOAM facilitates genetic tests that use next-generation sequencing to identify alterations in all genes that are known to be somatically altered in human solid tumour cancers.
  2. Have an Expert Analyze the Genetic Panel
    Getting the genetic panel done is not enough – you must have an expert look at it to determine what the data means.
    • Just because your treatment team has ordered a tumour DNA sequencing panel for you, it does NOT mean they have done the proper analysis of the data.
Cancer Cells

Why Genomic Sequencing Works: They Include VUS

Most tests only report well-known mutations. They fail to show lesser-known mutations and do not report variants of unknown significance (VUS) at all. This is problematic because VUS can provide crucial information about what type of targeted therapy will be most beneficial to the patient.

Variants of Unknown Significance (VUS):

  • Are genetic mutations that have not yet been characterized and/or researched
  • Are unique to each individual

For example, take a recent study on patients with prostate cancer. The study showed that the patients with BRCA mutations had significantly higher rates of metastatic disease (17.4% vs 4.4%), and higher rates of stage T3/T4 cancer (40.3% vs 10.8%) than those without BRCA mutations. Critically, this difference was associated with variants of unknown significance.

Having information as to whether a VUS is present is necessary for a correct treatment plan.

  • Why Variants of Unknown Significance Matter:
    They enable trained analysts to find pathogenic mutations in genes that otherwise go unacknowledged.
    • In most cases, our cancer specialists find pathogenic mutations in genes that hadn’t even been considered in the patient’s original treatment plan.
    • One must use all the genetic data to stratify a cancer subtype to know what the most beneficial, efficient therapy will be for the patient.
    • When VUS are not taken into consideration, it often results in a treatment plan that is unnecessarily expensive and ineffective.
    • This causes the patient to waste valuable time and miss out on therapies that might actually be effective for their form of cancer.
DNA Man

Best DNA Sequencing Test for Cancer

That’s why CTOAM’s cancer specialists only use DNA sequencing panels that report all VUS, regardless of the gene. We then use sophisticated DNA and protein modelling methods to determine if the VUS are indeed pathogenic or not – and create a treatment plan that takes the results into consideration.

You need a trained analyst who understands the latest research on VUS, to fully benefit from the data obtained by a comprehensive genetic panel.

To create the most effective treatment plan for your form of cancer, it’s critical to have as much information as possible about your unique mutations. When you become a CTOAM client, you’ll get access to the most advanced and comprehensive sequencing panels. These allow us to identify your unique set of mutations and then choose the best targeted cancer therapy treatment plan for you.

Please contact our cancer specialists today to learn how we can help you access these lifesaving tests and treatments quickly so that you can start moving forward with your recovery as soon as possible.

Confused and feeling hopeless? We’re here to give you answers – knowledge is power.

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