Objectives
  • To be able to judiciously use laboratory diagnostic testing for the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with cancer

Awareness
  • Awareness of the availability of relevant laboratory diagnostic tests

  • Recognition of the existence, utility and costs of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers

  • Appreciation of novel technologies, including particularly molecular methodologies with emerging diagnostic applicability, such as blottings (Western, Southern, Northern), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR, interference with gene expression (siRNAs, shRNAs, overexpression), cloning and mutagenesis of genes, the CRISPR system, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), mass spectrometry (MS), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), tissue culture techniques, basic histology techniques (fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH)), immunohistochemistry (IHC), immunofluorescence (IF), Sanger sequencing and next-generation sequencing (NGS), arrays (mRNA, miRNA, protein, kinase, antibody), single-cell technologies, microscopy (fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), confocal), animal models of cancer (xenograft, patient-derived xenografts (PDX), genetically engineered mouse models (GEMM)), liquid biopsies: circulating tumour cells (CTCs), exosomes, circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA)

  • Recognition of the importance of controls (positive, negative), assessment of data quality and limitations of techniques

Knowledge
  • Knowledge of which laboratory testing is appropriate for diagnosis, staging, treatment decision-making and follow-up

  • Familiarity with relevant biomarkers and their clinical value

  • Familiarity with the review and interpretation of laboratory findings pertaining to the management of patients with cancer

  • Understanding of the principles of laboratory methods relevant for appropriate interpretation, including particularly cytogenetic and molecular analyses

  • Knowledge of which clinical materials are required/appropriate for specific diagnostic tests

  • Knowledge of adequate frequencies of laboratory diagnostic analyses in different clinical settings

  • Knowledge about some of the basic techniques (PCR, western blot, cell culture techniques, histology)

Skills
  • Ability to critically assess, interpret and discuss the utility of specific laboratory parameters

  • Ability to evaluate costs of laboratory tests in relation to their clinical relevance

  • Ability to determine further diagnostic and treatment options on the basis of laboratory test results

  • Ability to integrate laboratory findings and other diagnostic procedures into clinical decision-making

  • Ability to contribute to discussions on the interpretation of laboratory findings with regard to clinical consequences

  • Ability to explain the results of laboratory tests to patients and colleagues