10 May 2022, Philippines – Novartis launched its PIK3CA Testing Program at Shangri-La Fort in Taguig City on 30 April 2022. 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 central role that PIK3CA mutation plays in breast cancer progression.
Present during the event were Dr. Josephine Contreras -Tolentino, Chief, Section of Medical Oncology and Consultant Director of the Chemotherapy Unit of The Medical City; Ms. Vanessa Ongsue, Vice President for Medical Services of Hi-Precision Diagnostics; Mr. Joel Chong, Oncology General Manager of Novartis Healthcare Philippines; Ms. Leilani Soriano, Manager of The Medical City Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Laboratory; Dr. Shari Daffodil Francisco, Oncology Medical Director of Novartis Healthcare Philippines; Dr. Jerome Gonzaga, Medical Advisor for Solid Tumors of Novartis Healthcare Philippines; and Ms. Christine Fajardo, Patient Engagement Head of Novartis Healthcare Philippines.
Officials of the partner stakeholders signed the formal agreement to implement the testing program and declared their commitment to promote awareness on the importance of PIK3CA testing and to facilitate testing for patients.
“There is a new target in breast cancer, the PIK3CA mutation. Advanced laboratory testing enables doctors to predict which medicines work better and which do not for specific patients. As such, doctors and patients are able to make educated decisions. Moreover, patients save money by not taking a drug that may not work for them,” said Mr. Chong.
“Around 40% of breast cancer patients with hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative tumors can harbor and test positive for PIK3CA mutation. Their outcomes may improve if they are treated with targeted therapy. I, together with other medical oncologists, will continue to educate and guide our patients so that they can make informed decision that is best for them,” said Dr. Tolentino.
Given the low awareness on the harmful effects of PIK3CA mutation, Novartis launched the testing program to educate the public on the clinical importance of early identification of PIK3CA mutation and encourage breast cancer patients and medical oncologists to consider PIK3CA testing. 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 among Filipino women, and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country, next to lung and liver cancer1. PIK3CA is the most commonly mutated gene in hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) 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 treatment and a poor overall prognosis2 .
For inquiries regarding the PIK3CA Testing Program, contact Hi-Precision Diagnostics at (0908) 873-8370 / (0908) 880-2807 or email at [email protected]; or The Medical City at (02) 898-1000 local 3175 or 6415, (0961) 858-6606, or email at [email protected].