Sponsored Content by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Recent research suggests cancer patients who have undergone genetic testing for inherited or acquired mutations were more likely to have prolonged overall survival than patients who did not, as genetic tests can direct healthcare providers to targeted treatment paradigms featuring therapies specific to an individual’s genetic makeup.1,2

Various genetic alterations impact how specific tumors can arise or develop, including BRCA1/2, p53, HER2 and the RAS family of genes, among others.3 As researchers continue to study how genetic changes impact cancer development, findings have led to improvements in cancer care including the increased use of targeted therapies and early detection strategies.3

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“Treating with an inhibitor or a targeted therapy may slow or halt uncontrolled cell growth that may be  driven, in part, by a genetically-altered cancer and can provide clinical benefits to patients,” said Tracy McGowan, MD, Strategic Area Lead for Medical Affairs at Janssen Biotech, Inc. “Analyzing a patient’s DNA or RNA for actionable genetic alterations can help direct a cancer patient’s treatment plan, and is intended to provide patients and providers with treatment options that are specific to the unique characteristics of an individual’s specific tumor type.”  

An example of the above is the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) genetic alteration, which occurs in approximately one in five patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC).4,5 FGFR genes, a family of receptor tyrosine kinases, impact tumor cell proliferation, migration and survival in both non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) including mUC.6 This is also true in a variety of other tumor types as well.4

Dr. McGowan is hopeful that, over time, more healthcare providers will recommend genetic testing earlier in the course of bladder cancer to ensure that appropriate treatment options are available for consideration. In the evolving era of precision medicine, it is important to inform patients and their families about the role of genetic testing to help them navigate treatment opportunities. For healthcare providers, talking to patients about the role of genetic testing in their care plan is the beginning of important conversations especially when specific targeted therapies are now available.


  1. Tsimberidou A, Hong DS, Ye Y, et al. Initiative for molecular profiling and advanced cancer therapy (IMPACT): an MD Anderson precision medicine study. JCO Precis Oncol. 2017; 2017: 10.1200/PO.17.00002.
  2. National Cancer Institute. Genetic Testing for Inherited Cancer Susceptibility Syndromes. Accessed July 2020. Available at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/genetic-testing-fact-sheet#what-are-some-of-the-benefits-of-genetic-testing-for-inherited-cancer-susceptibility-syndromes
  3. Cancer.net. The Genetics of Cancer. Accessed July 2020. Available at https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/cancer-basics/genetics/genetics-cancer
  4. Helsten T, Elkin S, Arthur E, et al. The FGFR landscape in cancer: analysis of 4,853 tumors by next-generation sequencing. Clin Cancer Res. 2015;22(1):259-267.
  5. Tomlinson DC, Balbo O, Harnden P, et al. FGFR3 protein expression and its relationship to mutation status and prognostic variables in bladder cancer. J Pathol. 2007;213(1):91-98.
  6. Casadei C, Dizman N, Schepisi G, et al. Targeted therapies for advanced bladder cancer: new strategies with FGFR inhibitors. Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2019;11:1-8.