Cancer is one of the most significant causes of morbidity and mortality
in the United States, accounting for nearly a quarter of all deaths in 2003.1 Despite advances in understanding the etiology
of cancer, its clinical management remains challenging. Many cancers are detected
at advanced stages, when invasion of surrounding tissues and metastasis to
distant sites have already occurred, rendering standard treatment modes relatively
ineffective. Patients whose tumors are classified at similar stages often
demonstrate variable clinical outcomes, making it difficult to accurately
assess prognosis, select appropriate interventions, and communicate disease
severity to patients. Standard treatment modes including chemotherapy and
radiotherapy have consistent toxicities, but do not benefit all patients.
An effort is under way to translate advances in molecular biology, bioinformatics,
and computing into tools that may improve the diagnosis, staging, and treatment
of patients with cancer.2 These tools range
from tests that evaluate single genes for unique interindividual differences
to chips that profile the expression of entire sets of genes or proteins.
These emerging genomic and proteomic technologies may help to individualize
and improve the clinical management of cancer.
Hasan RK, Wulfkuhle JD, Liotta LA, Petricoin EF. Molecular Technologies for Personalized Cancer Management. JAMA. 2004;291(13):1644-1645. doi:10.1001/jama.291.13.1644