Novartis has launched its PIK3CA testing program at Shangri-La Fort in Taguig City. Titled “Mutation Matters in Breast Cancer: PI3K-ing the Right Test,” the event aimed to highlight the burden of breast cancer in the Philippines and the pivotal role that the PIK3CA mutation plays in breast cancer progression.
Present at the event were Dr. Josephine Contreras-Tolentino, Chief of the Medical Oncology Section and Consulting Director of The Medical City Chemotherapy Unit; Ms. Vanessa Ongsue, Vice President of Medical Services for Hi-Precision Diagnostics; Mr. Joel Chong, General Manager of Oncology, Novartis Healthcare Philippines; Ms. Leilani Soriano, Head of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at The Medical City; Dr. Shari Daffodil Francisco, Medical Director of Oncology, Novartis Healthcare Philippines; Dr. Jerome Gonzaga, Medical Advisor for Solid Tumors of Novartis Healthcare Philippines; and Ms. Christine Fajardo, Head of Patient Engagement, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.
Partner stakeholder leaders signed the formal testing program implementation agreement and declared their commitment to promote awareness of the importance of the PIK3CA test and to facilitate testing for patients.
“There is a new target in breast cancer, the PIK3CA mutation. Advanced lab tests allow doctors to predict which drugs work best and which don’t for specific patients. Thus, doctors and patients are able to make informed decisions. Plus, patients save money by not taking a drug that might not work for them,” Chong said.
Given the low awareness of the harmful effects of the PIK3CA mutation, Novartis initiated the testing program to educate the public about the clinical importance of early identification of the PIK3CA mutation and encourage breast cancer patients and medical oncologists to consider the PIK3CA test. During the event, experts called on patients with advanced breast cancer to get tested to improve treatment outcomes.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Filipino women and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the country, after lung and liver cancer. PIK3CA is the most commonly mutated gene in hormone receptor positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HR+/HER2-) negative breast cancer; approximately 40% of patients living with HR+/HER2- breast cancer have this mutation. PIK3CA mutations are associated with tumor growth, resistance to endocrine therapies, and poor overall prognosis.
For inquiries regarding the PIK3CA test program, contact Hi-Precision Diagnostics on (0908) 873-8370 / (0908) 880-2807 or by email at [email protected]; or The Medical City at (02) 898-1000 local 3175 or 6415, (0961) 858-6606, or by email at [email protected]