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Cancer Treat Rev. 2011 Apr;37(2):151-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2010.07.004. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

Use of molecular markers for predicting therapy response in cancer patients.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Predictive markers are factors that are associated with upfront response or resistance to a particular therapy. Predictive markers are important in oncology as tumors of the same tissue of origin vary widely in their response to most available systemic therapies. Currently recommended oncological predictive markers include both estrogen and progesterone receptors for identifying patients with breast cancers likely to benefit from hormone therapy, HER-2 for the identification of breast cancer patients likely to benefit from trastuzumab, specific K-RAS mutations for the identification of patients with advanced colorectal cancer unlikely to benefit from either cetuximab or panitumumab and specific EGFR mutations for selecting patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer for treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as gefitinib and erlotinib. The availability of predictive markers should increase drug efficacy and decrease toxicity, thus leading to a more personalized approach to cancer treatment.

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