FirstWord Physician Views: How do oncologists use companion diagnostics, what are the key challenges and which pharma companies are best at supporting them?

As exemplified by Roche's R&D presentation last week (see Spotlight On: Roche's R&D day – The key takeaways), the use of biomarkers to segment cancer patient populations – with the aim to both enhance the drug development process and the efficacy of resultant therapies – is set to play an integral role in how this disease area continues to develop.

There has already been notable commercial success with this approach and the use of companion diagnostics to identify which patients stand to benefit most from particular therapies - the best example probably being Roche's own HER2-positive breast cancer treatment Herceptin.

The Swiss company plays a prominent role in this approach – Roche being the global leader in both the oncology drug and diagnostic markets – but a biomarker approach to cancer drug development is now common place across the industry.
But what do physicians think of companion diagnostics and how they have evolved the treatment of cancer? The general sentiment suggests that they are a purely positive development, but do oncologists face particular challenges in using cancer treatments in conjunction with a companion diagnostic and what can be done to improve how these predictive tools can be used?

This week's Physician Views poll asks oncologists based in the US and 5EU markets:

How many cancer patients they assess with a companion diagnostic prior to treatment?

How the role of a companion diagnostic impacts their uptake/usage of an associated cancer product?

What their biggest challenges are in using companion diagnostics and an associated cancer product?

What pharmaceutical manufacturers could provide to improve and enhance the experience of using companion diagnostics?

Which pharmaceutical companies provide the best support and most effective information regarding companion diagnostics and associated cancer treatments?

You will be able to read the results and analysis on Wednesday.

Results and related analysis will be published for FirstWord Pharma PLUS subscribers to read, with the opportunity for non-FirstWord Pharma PLUS subscribers to purchase these findings. To be notified when poll results and analysis become available, please click here.

As always, FirstWord would very much like to receive your feedback and suggestions.

Note: FirstWord Polls are powered by MedePolls, a fast-turnaround service to conduct instant polls of up to five questions with guaranteed samples that include physicians from dozens of specialities and over 100 markets. To conduct this poll with a different audience, or an entirely different poll, contact us at

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