Translation of Knowledge to Practice—Improving Awareness in NSCLC Molecular Testing

Alona Zer, Jean Claude Cutz, Harman Sekhon, David M. Hwang, Christina Sit, Manjula Maganti, Mike Sung, Matthew Binnie, Anthony Brade, Tae Bong Chung, Suzanne Kamel-Reid, Narinder Paul, Ming S. Tsao, Tom Waddell, Gilda da Cunha Santos, Milan Patel, Ron F. Carter, Natasha B. Leighl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Molecular testing in advanced lung cancer is standard in guiding treatment selection. However, population-wide implementation of testing remains a challenge. We developed a knowledge translation intervention to improve understanding among diagnostic specialists about molecular testing and appropriate diagnostic sampling in lung cancer. Methods: Specialty-specific education programs were developed from existing literature and input from Canadian leaders in lung pathology, respirology, interventional radiology, thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, and medical oncology. The programs, including key messages, review of current data, existing guidelines, group discussion, and participant feedback, were administered at provincial and national specialty meetings. Participant knowledge was assessed before and after the intervention by using anonymous questionnaires. Molecular (EGFR) testing rates in Ontario were also evaluated before and after the intervention period. Results: Ten programs were administered to diagnostic specialists, including respirologists, pathologists, thoracic surgeons, radiologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists, with completion of 255 preintervention and 219 postintervention surveys. At baseline, 30% were unsure of tissue handling methods for molecular testing, 20% chose an incorrect technique, and half were unfamiliar with how to initiate testing. After intervention, specialist knowledge improved regarding tissue handling and appropriate fixation techniques and uncertainty decreased from 30% to 2% (p < 0.001). A 12% increase (relative increase 57%) in molecular (EGFR) testing requests in Ontario was observed over the intervention period (p = 0.0032). Conclusions: Significant knowledge gaps exist among diagnostic specialists regarding molecular testing and targeted therapy in lung cancer. This initiative significantly improved understanding of the importance and methods of successful molecular testing and correlated with increased testing rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1011
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • EGFR
  • Knowledge translation
  • Quality of care


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