Personalized medicine refers to the customization of healthcare tailored to the needs of individual patients. FNA biopsy of tumors is a non-invasive and extremely cost effective way to obtain the necessary tissue for not only diagnosis of tumors but also to perform the needed molecular studies for individualized treatment.
Using FNA samples, tissue can be tested for genetic mutations and the information about the presence or absence of specific molecular markers can be used by the oncologist to choose appropriate therapy protocols. For example, if a patient has an enlarged supraclavicular lymph node that contains metastatic lung adenocarcinoma, the FNA specimen can be used to get information about EGFR, ALK and ROS1. FNA samples can also be used for BRAF testing in melanomas and thyroid cancers, and HER2 in breast cancers. The world of molecular medicine is expanding rapidly and samples obtained by FNA biopsy are as good as or better for these advanced studies than traditional surgical biopsies.