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What is the PIK3CA biomarker?

The PIK3CA gene is present in each of the cells in our body and it holds the instructions for making a protein called p110. When p110 teams up with another protein called p85, they form a new protein complex called PI3K. The normal (wild type) PI3K protein complex controls cell growth, division, movement, and survival.

What does a PIK3CA mutation mean?

When and how should I have PIK3CA biomarker testing?

There are no standard recommendations for PIK3CA biomarker testing. However, if you were diagnosed with stage IV, metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), you can find out your PIK3CA status if you and your doctor decide to send a sample of your tumor tissue (biopsy) or blood sample (liquid biopsy) for comprehensive biomarker testing. NGS (New Generation Sequencing) technology includes the PIK3CA gene in multi-gene panels and will provide you with your PIK3CA status among other genes.

What do I do with this information?

Knowing the details of tumor biomarkers can help you and your doctor make decisions about personalized treatment with therapies tailored specifically to the characteristics of your tumor.

  • Overall, a mutation in the PIK3CA gene is a prognostic biomarker for aggressive tumor growth behavior. Patients with this mutation have an increased risk for the tumor to come back (tumor recurrence). Research shows that taking a daily aspirin may be beneficial and reduce the risk of recurrence for patients with PIK3CA mutation.
  • Research shows that patients with double mutations (PIK3CA and RAS) may have a slightly better prognosis than those patients with only PIK3CA mutation.
  • A mutation in PIK3CA is also a predictive biomarker for a poor response to anti-EGFR treatments, so patients with a PIK3CA mutation should not receive drugs such as cetuximab or panitumumab.


What treatment options are available?

What are the potential side effects ?

Every treatment has the potential to cause some side effects. Some people may be more sensitive than others to a particular drug. It also depends on your other treatments, medications, vitamins and herbal supplements. For example, side effects could be worse if you are treated with radiation at the same time. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your medications, vitamins, and treatments. Call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing severe symptoms.

For more on side effects of other chemotherapy regimens, click here.

Download: The PIK3CA Biomarker

Learn about the PIK3CA Biomarker.

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