As the genomic era in oncology unfolds, it is becoming increasingly clear just how multifaceted and complex that practicing precision medicine is going to be. The view through that prism of change is at once colored with bright hopes and blinding distractions, and OncLive
captures some of those refractions.
In our coverage of the 13th Annual International Congress on the Future of Breast Cancer, which Physicians’ Education Resource (PER) hosted July 2014 in California, we focus on aspects of clinical care that may be influenced by the ever-growing body of knowledge about the molecular nature of breast cancer.
In hormone-positive breast cancer, there is hope that more fully characterized pathways will result in drugs that can overcome resistance to endocrine therapies. One promising approach involving CDK4/6 inhibition is in the later stages of development.
By contrast, gene expression profiling of triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) has yielded fresh knowledge about the tumor type’s heterogeneity but has not yet produced clear correlations that would help clinicians individualize chemotherapy options for their patients. “It’s still early days,” commented Joyce A. O’Shaughnessy, MD, the conference chair, during her presentation on TNBC subtypes.In his column
, Maurie Markman, MD, our physician editor, delves into the pitfalls that can occur along that path to discovery. He advocates for greater disclosure from the research community about the validity of molecular biomarkers that are being explored, as opposed to the more prevalent focus on their possible uses in a distant future.
For companies that develop diagnostic tests, that future has already arrived. The growing tug of war over regulatory and reimbursement issues is captured in “When Science Outpaces Payers.”
For oncology specialists, issues about the clinical validity and the cost impact of precision medicine are likely to become regular features of patient care and practice management.
Our goal is to help shed light on this changing genomic landscape. Please let us know your thoughts. And, as always, thank you for reading.