Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where can I find more information on participation in DNA-based cancer research?
Contact your own oncologist or an oncologist in one of the participating centers.
How certain can we be that cancer is a genetic disease?
While there is no cancer without genetic defects, we cannot exclude the cancer’s environment. In addition to genetic defects, the development and survival of cancer depends on countless factors. There have been increasing indications over recent years that the genetic defects of cancer can be used in treatment decision making. In several tumor types such as melanoma, breast cancer, gastro-intestinal stromal tumors, non-small lung cancer, gastric cancer, and colorectal cancers, the mutational make-up of the cancer is determined and plays a role in the decision how a patient with metastatic disease should be treated.
How is research carried out at the CPCT?
We make an appointment with you to take a biopsy of the tumor and you will have to abstain from food and drink the nigh/morning before the procedure. Before taking the biopsy, we will inject a thin needle with anesthetic fluid into the skin. The biopsy is then taken through the anesthetized skin by a radiologist who injects another needle into the tumor and removes a small amount of tissue. Using an echo or CT scan, the radiologist will ensure that the needle is inserted directly into the tumor. In some cases it may be necessary to stay in bed in the hospital for several hours after the biopsy. All biopsies are taken in accordance with the relevant standards applied by the hospital.
What happens to my information and bodily material?
In principle the DNA of the tumor is stored indefinitely. The genetic data is stored in a secure database which does not include any personal data
Does the patient analysis ensure the cancer patient of treatment that is effective and has no side effects?
No. The treatment of cancer is not a black-and-white issue. There are many shades of grey: a treatment that is probably effective but has many side effects or a less effective treatment with fewer side effects. A personal plan is determined together with the patient.
How reliable are the sequencing results and the resulting recommendations?
‘Next Generation Sequencing’ technology is new and still being developed. Interpreting the experimental data is a constant learning process. A multidisciplinary team studies the mutations found in relation to quality characteristics and formulates a conclusion based on their findings. All genetic defects that are relevant to treatment are first confirmed in a specifically certified laboratory. Once confirmed the treatment gets underway.
Can there be unexpected results that are relevant to me or my family?
To properly interpret the sequencing results of the tumor, its DNA must be compared to the DNA of healthy tissue (blood) from the patient. Mutations which may indicate an increased risk for certain conditions or diseases in the family may be found by chance. The Clinical Genetics department will provide counselling and further guidance.
When is this likely to become the standard diagnostic method for all patients?
A selection of the medication currently being evaluated in experimental studies is expected to be used in hospitals within a few years. In addition, the CPCT is mapping genetic defects relevant to treatment as part of a general global effort. At this time, large-scale genetic research is only offered in combination with clinical scientific research. It is expected that the research results and registration of new drugs in the coming years will lead to more medication being registered based on sequencing results. As a result the genetic analyses will become part of standard cancer diagnostics.
Which hospitals can I contact?
As of October 2016 you can approach the following hospitals:
- Erasmus MC Kankerinstituut Rotterdam
- Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht
- VU Medisch Centrum in Amsterdam
- Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen
- Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum in Nijmegen
- Maastricht Universitair Medisch Centrum
- Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum
- Antoni van Leeuwenhoek
- Meander Medisch Centrum
- Elisabeth Tweesteden Ziekenhuis Tilburg
- Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis
- Sint Franciscus Gasthuis
- VieCuri Medisch Centrum
- Maxima Medisch Centrum
- Spaarne Gasthuis
- Reinier de Graaff
- Zuyderland Medisch Centrum
- Martini Ziekenhuis
- MC Slotervaart
- Ziekenhuis Gelderse Vallei
- Noordwest Ziekenhuisgroep
Bij de volgende ziekenhuizen kunt u op korte termijn terecht:
- Amphia ziekenhuis
- Maasstad ziekenhuis
- Medisch Spectrum Twente
- Medisch Centrum Leeuwarden
- Deventer Ziekenhuis
- Academisch Medisch Centrum (AMC)
- Ziekenhuis Bernhoven
- Haga Ziekenhuis
- Nij Smellinghe
- Ziekenhuis St Jansdal
- St. Antonius Ziekenhuis
- Bravis ziekenhuis
- Treant Zorggroep
- Ziekenhuisgroep Twente
- Gelre Ziekenhuizen
- Rode Kruis Ziekenhuis
- Rivas Zorggroep
- Groene Hart Ziekenhuis