Genetic Testing Can Improve Cancer Treatment

When most people think of DNA tests, daytime talkshows or primetime crime dramas come to mind. Many people associate DNA testing with questions of paternity or forensic tests to figure out whodunnit.

As scientists and inventors continue to innovate, the capabilities and applications of DNA testing expand beyond just establishing biological relationships, revealing ancestry, and identifying culprits. More and more, doctors, dieticians, and health professionals are using DNA testing for personalized treatment. This includes the use of pharmacogenetics testing, which can help doctors identify genetic variations that affect how our bodies react to medicines.

One of the ways that healthcare professionals are now applying pharmacogenetics testing is in the treatment of cancer. Read on to see how this innovative genetic testing is helping cancer patients.

Cancer Treatment & Genetic Testing

How is Pharmacogenetics Used to Treat Cancer?

Pharmacogenetics, also called pharmacogenomics, involves analyzing how our genes respond to pharmaceutical treatments. Oncologists have found these DNA test results effective in developing better treatment plans for cancer patients.

Many pharmaceuticals used to treat cancer aren’t fully active in their given form, meaning they need to be activated by enzymes that speed up the body’s chemical reactions. Individuals inherit variations in their enzymes, affecting how quickly and efficiently drugs are activated.

Enyzmes Involved in Metabolism of Chemotherapy

There are countless enzymes involved in making cancer treatments more effective. These include:

  • UGT1A1: genetic variations can cause a shortage of this enzyme, which helps the body metabolize a chemotherapy for colorectal cancer. With less of this enzyme to break down the chemotherapy drugs, there can be serious complications. With testing, doctors know they should prescribe lower doses for individuals with less UGT1A1.
  • TPMT: changes in this enzyme are present in 10% of kids. This enzyme is involved with metabolizing chemotherapy for treating Acut Lympholastic Leukemia. In order to prevent major side effects, children with lower TPMT levels should be treated with lower doses of these drugs.
  • DPD: this enzyme helps with metabolism of a chemotherapy used for treating colorectal, breast, stomach, and pancreatic cancers. By testing for variations in this enzyme, doctors can lower dosages of chemo to prevent major side effects.

Improve Cancer Treatment

Pharmacogenetics testing can help you prevent adverse patient outcomes and improve cancer treatment. To get started, contact your nearest ARCpoint Labs today!

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