The path to routine use of genomic biomarkers in the cancer clinic.

Genome research

PubMedID: 26430161

Boutros PC. The path to routine use of genomic biomarkers in the cancer clinic. Genome Res. 2015;25(10):1508-13.
It has been almost 15 years since the first microarray-based studies creating multigene biomarkers to subtype and predict survival of cancer patients. This Perspective looks at why only a handful of genomic biomarkers have reached clinical application and what advances are needed over the next 15 years to grow this number. I discuss challenges in creating biomarkers and reproducing them at the genomic and computational levels, including the problem of spatio-genomic heterogeneity in an individual cancer. I then outline the challenges in translating newly discovered genome-wide or regional events, like trinucleotide mutation signatures, kataegis, and chromothripsis, into biomarkers, as well as the importance of incorporating prior biological knowledge. Lastly, I outline the practical problems of pharmaco-economics and adoption: Are new biomarkers viewed as economically rational by potential funders? And if they are, how can their results be communicated effectively to patients and their clinicians? Genomic-based diagnostics have immense potential for transforming the management of cancer. The next 15 years will see a surge of research into the topics here that, when combined with a stream of new targeted therapies being developed, will personalize the cancer clinic.