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June 2016

No Solid Evidence, Only Hollow Argument for Universal Tumor Sequencing: Show Me the Data

Author Affiliations
  • 1Swedish Cancer Institute, Seattle, Washington
JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(6):717-718. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0075

Is there enough benefit to justify sequencing all patients’ tumors? No.

Patients often come to the oncology clinic with questions about alternative anticancer therapies ranging from cannabis oil to vitamin C infusions purported to provide remarkable results. Proponents highlight a hypothesis of anticancer efficacy typically corroborated by preclinical studies and selected anecdotal cases of patients who have done exceptionally well. When asked about these zealously promoted but insufficiently studied approaches, evidence-based oncologists rightly emphasize the absence of properly conducted prospective trials proving that such cases are not merely outliers but are generalizable to defined populations.

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