Molecular Pathology: A Requirement for Precision Medicine in Cancer.

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Molecular Pathology: A Requirement for Precision Medicine in Cancer.

Oncol Res Treat. 2016;39(12):804-810

Authors: Dietel M

The increasing importance of targeting drugs and check-point inhibitors in the treatment of several tumor entities (breast, colon, lung, malignant melanoma, lymphoma, etc.) and the necessity of a companion diagnostic (HER2, (pan)RAS, EGFR, ALK, BRAF, ROS1, MET, PD-L1, etc.) is leading to new challenges for surgical pathology. Since almost all the biomarkers to be specifically detected are tissue based, a precise and reliable diagnostic is absolutely crucial. To meet this challenge surgical pathology has adapted a number of molecular methods (semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization, PCR and its multiple variants, (pyro/Sanger) sequencing, next generation sequencing (amplicon, whole exome, whole genome), DNA arrays, methylation analyses, etc.) to be applicable for formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue. Reading a patient’s tissue as ‘deeply’ as possible and obtaining information on the morphological, genetic, proteomic and epigenetic background are the tasks of pathologists and molecular biologists and provide the clinicians with information relevant for precision medicine. Intensified cooperation between clinicians and pathologists will provide the basis of improved clinical drug selection and guide development of new cancer gene therapies and molecularly targeted drugs by research units and the pharmaceutical industry.

PMID: 27889782 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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