The relevance of external quality assessment for molecular testing for ALK positive non-small cell lung cancer : results from two pilot rounds show room for optimization
Dequeker, Elisabeth M. C.
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Engineering sciences. Technology
, 10 p.
University of Antwerp
Background and Purpose: Molecular profiling should be performed on all advanced non-small cell lung cancer with non-squamous histology to allow treatment selection. Currently, this should include EGFR mutation testing and testing for ALK rearrangements. ROS1 is another emerging target. ALK rearrangement status is a critical biomarker to predict response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as crizotinib. To promote high quality testing in non-small cell lung cancer, the European Society of Pathology has introduced an external quality assessment scheme. This article summarizes the results of the first two pilot rounds organized in 2012-2013. Materials and Methods: Tissue microarray slides consisting of cell-lines and resection specimens were distributed with the request for routine ALK testing using IHC or FISH. Participation in ALK FISH testing included the interpretation of four digital FISH images. Results: Data from 173 different laboratories was obtained. Results demonstrate decreased error rates in the second round for both ALK FISH and ALK IHC, although the error rates were still high and the need for external quality assessment in laboratories performing ALK testing is evident. Error rates obtained by FISH were lower than by IHC. The lowest error rates were observed for the interpretation of digital FISH images. Conclusion: There was a large variety in FISH enumeration practices. Based on the results from this study, recommendations for the methodology, analysis, interpretation and result reporting were issued. External quality assessment is a crucial element to improve the quality of molecular testing.