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The paradox of precision medicine

Nature Reviews Clinical Oncologyvolume 15pages341342 (2018) | Download Citation

According to the paradigm of precision medicine, the administration of agents targeting the molecular alteration detected in a particular patient’s tumour reduces uncertainty in the clinical management of that patient. We describe how approaches to precision medicine can lead, paradoxically, to increased levels of uncertainty. We offer recommendations for how physicians can better navigate new uncertainties in precision medicine.

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J.K. is funded by Genome Canada/Genome Quebec (PACEOMICS).

Author information


  1. Biomedical Ethics Unit, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    • Jonathan Kimmelman
  2. Department of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    • Jonathan Kimmelman
  3. Division of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    • Ian Tannock


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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Jonathan Kimmelman.

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