Cincinnati Cancer Advisors: Genetic Insights Combat Cancer

"Genetic testing has a major impact on the whole trajectory of cancer," explains Dr. Abdul Rahman Jazieh of Cincinnati Cancer Advisors.
Cincinnati Cancer Advisors: Genetic Insights Combat Cancer
Photography provided by Cincinnati Cancer Advisors

Although most people would still consider cancer to be a devastating diagnosis, science and technology offer new hope for optimizing outcomes, minimizing treatment-related suffering, and maximizing quality of life for cancer patients. Cincinnati Cancer Advisors has been quick to embrace next-generation sequencing techniques to not only develop a plan of care for their patients but also identify genetic mutations that might predict resistance to certain treatments, an effective response to other treatments, or a predisposition to cancer for the patient’s family members.

“Genetic testing has a major impact on the whole trajectory of cancer,” explains Dr. Abdul Rahman Jazieh, Senior Oncology Consultant and Director of Innovation and Research at Cincinnati Cancer Advisors. “This testing can identify patients who are susceptible to having cancer. Once we know these results, preventive measures can be employed, and we can detect up to 70 types of cancer early by using blood tests.”

Experts can prevent and treat cancer better by understanding a person’s predisposition to this grim disease.

“If the results of the test show that a certain patient has a gene mutation that increases the risk of colon cancer, more frequent colonoscopies might be recommended because polyps could develop quicker and younger for this patient than they would for the general population,” says Andy Guinigundo, Cincinnati Cancer Advisors’ Director of Precision Oncology.

Guinigundo, an adult certified nurse practitioner, and his team also use molecular testing to benefit their patients who already have cancer.

“Molecular or genomic testing can be used to test tumors,” Guinigundo explains. “A tumor’s genetics often differs from that of all other cells in a person’s body. It’s these genetic changes that provide targets for treatment.

“For example, about 45% of all non-small cell lung cancers have an actionable driver mutation that causes cancer growth. ‘Actionable’ means precision medications are available to target those specific mutations to prevent further tumor growth.”

Testing technology truly gives the Cincinnati Cancer Advisors team more insight into each unique patient.

“For patients who have already received a cancer diagnosis, genetic testing can help direct the treatment by identifying specific targets that allow us to give the best treatment,” says Dr. Jazieh. “While in treatment, we can use molecular testing to monitor the disease response and detect remnant cancer or the beginning of a relapse. We also use these tests to determine whether it is safe for a patient to receive certain drugs and treatments.”

With these results, Dr. Jazieh can judge if a patient can take pills or other medication with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Testing can also lead to discovering new treatment options. Guinigundo recalls how one patient with advanced colon cancer felt she was out of options until a test gave her new hope.

“Several years ago, this patient’s genomic testing showed no actionable mutations,” says Guinigundo. “She then went to many different treatments and practices all over town to no avail. We then used a ‘liquid biopsy’ test, which revealed two driver mutations not present on her previous biopsy. This opened the door to additional therapies not available to her previously.”

Hereditary testing results can also help family members who share the same genes.

“I had a 40-something-year-old woman who had dealt with breast cancer and did quite well with our treatment,” Guinigundo recalls. “Her hereditary genetic testing discovered a cancer-causing gene mutation and, because these mutations are passed down from generation to generation, I recommended her family be tested.

“She really took this to heart, and over a dozen family members came in for testing. We found over half of them had the same mutation. The good news is that having the knowledge that the mutation is present led them to increase their cancer screenings. This will, in turn, improve outcomes for that family and their future generations.”

Both Guinigundo and Dr. Jazieh appreciate the patient-first focus at Cincinnati Cancer Advisors.

“After working in oncology for over 30 years, Cincinnati Cancer Advisors allowed me to put patient care front and center by removing many of the hurdles encountered within other health care centers,” says Dr. Jazieh. “I’m extremely pleased to be able to see patients regardless of their financial situation and insurance status. We are given time to listen to all patients and thoroughly study their cases. This enables us to always explore innovative therapies and communicate with top experts on the patient’s behalf.”

Thanks to the generosity of CCA’s many donors, anyone with a current or past cancer diagnosis is eligible for a no-charge consultation at Cincinnati Cancer Advisors.

For more information, visit or call 513.731.2273.

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