Amgen, Astellas backed group wants patients to test their biomarkers in new stomach cancer campaign

Stomach cancer is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world and claims around 10,000 lives each year in the U.S., but awareness of this cancer falls far below awareness of breast, lung and colorectal tumors.

A new initiative backed by pharma companies, researchers and other healthcare organizations called Test Your Biomarkers, which launched on World Cancer Day on Feb. 4, wants to change that.

This new education and awareness campaign, backed by Amgen and Astellas (which both separately have drugs in the clinic for gastric cancers), is specifically aimed at patients and their caregivers about the importance of testing for stomach cancer markers.

The idea is for patients to seek out these biomarker tests and treat accordingly, much in the same way people do for genetic mutations within breast and lung cancers.

There are many branded treatments and chemotherapies for gastric cancers, including Merck's Keytruda, Bristol Myers Squibb's Opdivo and Daiichi/AstraZeneca's Enhertu, but these must be matched to specific mutations that drive the cancer. Using biomarker tests can help match up the right drug to a patient's cancer. 

When patients know this, they can then “advocate for themselves and speak to their doctors about biomarker testing,” the group said in a press release.

“Our ultimate goal is to make biomarker testing a standard part of the diagnosis process for every stomach cancer patient,” said Jon Florin, executive director of No Stomach for Cancer, which is a founding supporter of Test Your Biomarkers, in the release.

“Our collective strength lies in collaboration and focused efforts among advocacy groups. By joining forces, we can amplify our impact and address the urgent need for widespread adoption of biomarker testing for stomach cancer diagnosis. Together, we are committed to overcoming the informational divide between patients and healthcare providers, ensuring that every patient receives personalized and effective care from the outset.”