Frequently Asked Questions for Patients and Families

What is GPS Cancer™?

GPS Cancer™ is a test that can identify alterations in the DNA and RNA of a person’s tumor sample, as well as measure the level of specific proteins, to potentially match this information to specific cancer therapies.

Why measure the amounts of specific proteins?

Many cancer therapies target proteins or require proteins to be effective. Knowing how much of a specific protein is present in a tumor can help to better understand how well a cancer therapy will work and can provide physicians with information to develop personalized treatment plans for their patients.

Who is eligible for GPS Cancer?

Patients should discuss with their physician whether GPS Cancer is appropriate for their type of cancer.

Who can order GPS Cancer?

GPS Cancer must be ordered by a physician.

What samples are required for testing?

A tumor sample (in most cases tissue collected from the most recent biopsy can be used) and a blood sample are required for testing. Both samples are needed for the accurate identification of tumor alterations.

How is this testing different from other tumor genomic testing?

GPS Cancer utilizes whole genome sequencing and RNA sequencing to analyze more of the genetic material in the tumor than many other tests. It also measures the amounts of clinically relevant proteins in tumors. Analysis of DNA, RNA and protein improves our ability to detect different types of alterations that may affect the behavior of the tumor and response to available cancer therapies.

How long does it take to receive the GPS Cancer test results?

Results are typically available within three weeks from when the laboratory receives the samples.

How is the GPS Cancer test performed?

The testing of patient samples is done in accredited and certified laboratories according to industry standards. First, the tumor samples are checked by a board-certified pathologist to ensure they are adequate for testing. The samples then undergo three different types of analyses:

  1. Whole genome sequencing: pinpoints genomic alterations among the thousands of genes present in an individual tumor cell
  2. RNA sequencing: provides information about which of the changes in the genes are important
  3. Quantitative proteomics: measures the amounts of specific proteins that are the targets for cancer therapies

The tumor alterations are then matched to cancer therapies that might be active against tumors containing the specific alteration or closely related alteration.

How are the GPS Cancer test results interpreted?

A GPS Cancer report listing alterations and potential treatment options, if available, is generated and is sent directly to the physician who ordered the test. The report may list FDA-approved therapies with potential for clinical benefit, as well as cancer therapies to which the cancer may be resistant. The report may also suggest active clinical trials of cancer therapies with potential for clinical benefit.

It should be noted that the report does not recommend a treatment plan, but rather it lists potential options, if any. It is the responsibility of the treating physician to develop a personalized treatment plan after discussing the available treatment options with the patient.

Can a patient make an appointment to discuss results?

If a patient has questions about the test report after discussing the results with their physician, the patient can reach out to the GPS Engagement Center. The GPS Care Center will schedule a time for the patient to speak with a representative from the NantHealth Medical Affairs Team.

What else do patients need to know when considering the GPS Cancer test?

Patients considering GPS Cancer should be aware that the test may not provide any options for targeted therapy if no approved or investigational agents and no clinical trials can be identified for a particular tumor alteration. In these instances, patients may still be eligible to receive standard treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, for their cancer. In addition, patients with certain other medical conditions may not qualify for treatment with the options listed in the GPS Cancer report, despite the presence of tumor alterations. Patients should also be aware that sequencing a normal blood sample may lead to incidental findings, such as the identification of genetic alterations that may predispose an individual to certain inherited diseases. Patients should discuss with their physician whether or not they would like to be informed of any incidental findings.

How much does GPS Cancer cost?

Please contact the GPS Care Center to discuss cost and insurance coverage.

If you would like more information about GPS Cancer, please contact us at 1-844-MY-OMICS/1-844-696-6427, or you can email us at GPSCancer@nanthealth.com. The email you're sending will be reviewed by NantHealth.


Secondary Germline Screening

What is secondary germline screening? 

The DNA and/or RNA sequence data generated during molecular analysis of cancer can also be evaluated for secondary findings that may have medical utility for you and your physician. Performed in addition to the principal testing of the cancer specimen, this secondary analysis offered by NantHealth looks for genetic variants that are present not only in cancer cells, but also in noncancerous cells within your body. These more widely distributed genetic abnormalities are referred to as germline abnormalities since they are likely to be present in reproductive tissue often referred to as the germline. Secondary screening is optional, and you will have the opportunity to opt in or opt out while completing the NantHealth Patient Informed Consent. 

What genes are evaluated in the secondary germline screening?  

NantHealth offers secondary screening for a select set of cancer predisposition genes. This list includes a number of genes that are recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) and are compatible with our genetic analytic processes.  

What is the clinical significance of secondary findings?

The presence of germline genetic abnormalities in cancer predisposition genes can lead to an increased risk of particular types of cancers and other medical conditions. Knowing that you have a germline abnormality in a cancer predisposition gene could be beneficial as screening for future cancers and/or specialized therapies may be available. Since these types of abnormalities can be inherited, there also is a chance that other family members related to you by blood could also carry these genetic abnormalities. The results of secondary screening performed by NantHealth should be discussed with your physician, who may recommend consultation with a medical geneticist. (At this time, NantHealth does not provide genetic counseling.)

What are the limitations of the secondary germline screening? 

The testing procedure employed for this screening only looks for a very specific class of genetic abnormalities that are predicted to disrupt the function of these genes. This screening test does not comprehensively evaluate these genes for all types of alterations that may have clinical consequences, thus there could be additional genetic abnormalities in any of the genes regardless of the test result. Furthermore, not all genes that increase the risk of cancer are included in this test. 

How should I decide whether to opt in to secondary germline screening? 

If you have questions about whether to opt in or out for secondary germline screening, please discuss with your physician.  

What does secondary screening cost? 

The test is run at no additional cost.

How do I tell my doctor if I want the secondary screening, and how do I receive the results? 

You will have the opportunity to opt in/out of secondary germline testing while completing the NantHealth Patient Informed Consent. If you indicate that you wish to have this test performed, the test will be performed in parallel with the other genomic testing of your cancer and normal tissue samples, and the results will be included in the clinical report containing the cancer genomics test results. This test will not affect the time required to generate the clinical report.