The initial diagnosis of cancer is usually based on taking a physical biopsy and then a skilled interpretation by a pathologist followed by tumor genome sequencing to generate informed treatment decisions.
Numerous genomic targets have been utilized as diagnostic markers for treatment with specific therapeutics. Indeed several anticancer therapies require that pharmacogenomic information is obtained before treatment can be initiated. Diagnostic tests that have established this new standard of care include ER and HER2 in breast cancer, BCR-ABL in chronic myeloid leukemia, c-Kit in gastrointestinal stromal tumors, BRAF in melanoma, KRAS in colorectal cancer, and EGFR and ALK in lung cancers.
With increasing development of targeted therapeutic agents in oncology comes a corresponding need for personalized treatment strategies. These strategies will facilitate the selection of patients who are most likely to benefit from a particular therapy, while simultaneously avoiding the cost and morbidity of futile interventions.
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