Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology is proud to feature a Focus on personalized medicine. The March 2011 special issue features discussions of the advances, challenges and progress in the field of personalized cancer medicine by key opinion leaders who presented at the Worldwide Innovative Networking (WIN) symposium held in Paris in July 2010. Topics include blood-based strategies to detect and monitor cancer, methodological and practical challenges, immune parameters and chemotherapy efficacy, P4 medicine, and personalized medicine perspective from a cancer center. The web page for this focus issue also includes links to related articles from across Nature Publishing Group to provide more background information on this topic.


WIN Consortium—challenges and advances

John Mendelsohn, Thomas Tursz, Richard L. Schilsky & Vladimir Lazar


Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 8, 133-134 (2011)

The importance of appropriate patient selection necessitates novel clinical trial design and biomarker-driven trials to allow delivery of the right drug to the right patient at the right time—personalized cancer medicine. The WIN Consortium promotes collaboration between critical stakeholders and offers diverse populations of cancer patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials with new drugs and biologics that target their tumor.


Methodological and practical challenges for personalized cancer therapies

Ignacio I. Wistuba, Juri G. Gelovani, Jörg J. Jacoby, Suzanne E. Davis & Roy S. Herbst


Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 8, 135-141 (2011)

Many clinical trials of targeted therapies have produced disappointing results, indicating that many challenges must be addressed to advance this field. The authors discuss the importance of novel statistical designs, the need for biopsy sampling in clinical trials and appropriate biomarker identification for improving treatment outcomes.

Emerging molecular biomarkers—blood-based strategies to detect and monitor cancer

Samir M. Hanash, Christina S. Baik & Olli Kallioniemi


Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 8, 142-150 (2011)

There is an urgent clinical requirement for the detection of early-stage cancer at a time point where curative treatment may be possible. Blood-based biomarkers are likely to be a key component of this detection and of staging and the monitoring of therapy outcomes. To achieve the full potential of these biomarkers international collaborations are required to provide robust, reproducible data that can then be rapidly translated into the clinic.

Immune parameters affecting the efficacy of chemotherapeutic regimens

Laurence Zitvogel, Oliver Kepp & Guido Kroemer


Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 8, 151-160 (2011)

In this Review, Zitvogel and colleagues discuss the impact of immune parameters on the efficacy of chemotherapeutic regimens. They suggest that immune-relevant biomarkers may guide personalized therapeutic interventions including compensatory measures to restore or improve anticancer immune responses.

Targeted therapy in GIST: in silico modeling for prediction of resistance

Marco A. Pierotti, Elena Tamborini, Tiziana Negri, Sabrina Pricl & Silvana Pilotti


Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 8, 161-170 (2011)

New techniques, such as crystallography and three-dimensional modeling, can be used to assist the development of selective targeted agents for cancer treatment. In this Review, Pierotti and colleagues discuss the molecular features of KIT and PDGFRA receptor tyrosine kinases, which are druggable targets in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. The authors focus on the major challenge in kinase drug discovery—the emergence of resistance—and discuss techniques for predicting and preventing this adverse event.

Biomarker studies: a call for a comprehensive biomarker study registry

Fabrice Andre, Lisa M. McShane, Stefan Michiels, David F. Ransohoff, Douglas G. Altman, Jorge S. Reis-Filho, Daniel F. Hayes & Lajos Pusztai


Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 8, 171-176 (2011)

Publication bias and hidden multiple hypotheses testing distort the assessment of the true value of biomarkers. The authors of this article propose that a registry should be created for biomarker studies initially focused on studies that use specimens from randomized trials, as a means to alleviate the limitations associated with both publication bias and multiple hypotheses testing.


Implications of personalized medicine—perspective from a cancer center

Thomas Tursz, Fabrice Andre, Vladimir Lazar, Ludovic Lacroix & Jean-Charles Soria


Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 8, 177-183 (2011)

Modern challenges in oncology, in particular the advent of targeted therapies and personalized medicine, highlight the need for developing a consortium of comprehensive cancer centers to run clinical trials in rare, molecularly-defined populations, and implement high-throughput technologies for daily practice.

Predictive, personalized, preventive, participatory (P4) cancer medicine

Leroy Hood & Stephen H. Friend


Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology 8, 184-187 (2011)

The authors takes a systems-biology approach to the problems of personalized cancer medicine. They describe the challenges of moving to a discipline that is predictive, personalized, preventive and participatory and explore methods for overcoming these obstacles.


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