The molecular diagnostics market continues to be the fastest growing segment of the overall in vitro diagnostics market. However, the molecular tests that drove the highest growth rates less than five years ago—for example, for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening—are beginning to stagnate.
To compete in these gradually saturating segments, vendors are forced to further broaden their molecular testing menus while offering competitive costs. The resulting pricing pressures further erode margins on what were once incredibly high-margin tests. In order to make up for the stabilizing infectious disease molecular diagnostic market, vendors are increasingly focusing their attention to the markets for oncology molecular diagnostics.
Global revenues from the sales of oncology molecular diagnostics are growing at more than 20% and currently account for approximately 10% of the roughly $5 billion molecular diagnostics market. While revenues from oncology molecular diagnostics currently make up less than 5% of total cancer testing revenue, this percentage is likely to reach 10% over the next five years. Molecular diagnostics for breast and colorectal cancer are likely to remain the two largest market segments. However, other oncology molecular diagnostics, including those for prostate cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, and ovarian cancer, represent significant market growth opportunities.
Molecular tests for oncology enable extremely targeted cancer diagnosis as well as early detection through screening programs. Additionally, with highly sensitive and extremely specific protocols, oncology molecular diagnostics support accurate and appropriate therapy selection. Oncology molecular diagnostics have had the greatest impact on the diagnosis and treatment of breast and colorectal cancer, with multiple tests widely incorporated in clinical practice. More importantly, these novel oncology molecular diagnostics have reduced mortality due to cancer.
Oncology molecular diagnostic tests are reimbursed at very high levels—as much as several thousands of dollars—when compared to other in vitro diagnostics. Higher reimbursement is based on value and cost-savings that can be achieved through the provision of laboratory-developed tests (LDTs).