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Article: Labs Embrace a New Workflow Paradigm for Tumor Profiling by Combining Complementary Technology for More Results Faster

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Molecular tumor profiling systemIn the intricate field of molecular pathology, the need for fast, sensitive, and cost-effective tumor profiling is of utmost importance. Traditionally, PCR-based technologies have effectively detected clinically relevant biomarkers, but the growing number of markers required for comprehensive analysis has shifted the field to NGS testing. NGS represents an advancement in tumor profiling coverage but has limitations. Combining the MassARRAY® System with Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) has several advantages in revolutionizing tumor profiling, especially in time-sensitive situations.

The Rising Challenge in Molecular Pathology

Historically reliant on qPCR techniques, molecular pathology labs now grapple with detecting multiple variants from a single biopsy sample. The advent of NGS addressed this by enabling multiplexing. Yet, it comes with its own set of challenges: complex workflows, lengthy turnaround time (TAT), high Quantity Not Sufficient (QNS) rates, intricate bioinformatics, and elevated costs.


Matrix-assisted/laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) has emerged as a technology for genetic analysis by delivering multiplexing capabilities with short TAT and low QNS rates. Notably, the MassARRAY System by Agena Bioscience® demonstrates remarkable efficiency in tumor profiling. It offers speed, accuracy, and affordability, addressing the limitations of qPCR and NGS.

Combining MassARRAY with NGS for Enhanced Tumor Profiling

Combining the MassARRAY as a complementary technology to NGS for enhanced tumor profiling is a novel approach that involves utilizing MassARRAY for initial oncology sample screening before deploying NGS. This workflow significantly improves TAT. For instance, a study referenced in the white paper A New Workflow Paradigm: Fast Tumor Profiling When Time Matters Most showed that 70% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) samples analyzed using MassARRAY provided sufficient genetic information for molecularly guided treatment decisions within two days. The remaining ~30% required RNA reflex testing through NGS, FISH, or qPCR to detect fusion biomarkers.

Advantages of the New Workflow Paradigm

The new workflow paradigm offers several advantages over traditional methods of DNA analysis. MassARRAY outperforms other methods regarding sensitivity and accuracy, delivering quick and accurate results in just a few hours post-DNA extraction. Incorporating the MassARRAY into a lab’s existing workflow makes it a highly efficient tool for rapid and accurate screening.

Compared to NGS, MassARRAY also has several benefits, such as reduced TAT and sample failures. While NGS offers broad coverage, it suffers from longer TATs and higher QNS rates. MassARRAY, with its rapid and sensitive detection, significantly reduces these issues, making it a more reliable option for DNA analysis and identifying all relevant biomarkers identified by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

Moreover, tumor profiling panels on the MassARRAY system require a very low sample input and boast an average QNS rate of less than 2%, enabling a more comprehensive sample analysis. This approach, coupled with its cost-effectiveness, makes it a more affordable alternative to tumor profiling with NGS, reducing the overall cost of DNA analysis.

Labs can balance speed and depth of research by using MassARRAY for the initial analysis and reflexing to NGS when necessary, leading to quicker yet comprehensive results. The workflow optimization thus ensures better utilization of resources and time. By combining MassARRAY with NGS or other existing technologies, molecular testing labs can run an optimized workflow that yields actionable results in a fraction of the time while still retaining the broad coverage of NGS.

Finally, the lower cost of MassARRAY increases the accessibility of molecular testing for labs, making it a more viable option for a broader range of applications.

A Case Study: NSCLC Sample Analysis

In the study cited in the white paper above, NSCLC samples were analyzed using this combined workflow. The results were clear—actionable genetic data for treatment decisions were obtained within two days for a significant portion of samples, highlighting the efficiency of this approach.

Conclusion: A Step Towards Better Cancer Care

The integration of MassARRAY and NGS presents a groundbreaking shift in molecular pathology, offering a balance of rapidity, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. This new paradigm enhances the capability of labs to deliver timely and precise tumor profiling, which is crucial for effective cancer treatment. As the demand for detecting actionable biomarkers increases, this synergistic approach equips pathology labs to meet these challenges head-on, ultimately improving molecular pathology lab workflows.

Ready to Transform Your Lab’s Tumor Profiling Approach?

Are you looking to enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and affordability of your molecular pathology lab’s tumor profiling capabilities? Integrating the MassARRAY into your lab’s current workflow could be the game-changer your lab needs. Don’t let the complexities of NGS workflows slow down your critical diagnostic processes. Embrace the future of rapid, reliable, and cost-effective cancer biomarker detection today.