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Molecular Profiling

Definition: Precision or Personalized Medicine

from National Cancer Institute (NCI)

“A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. In cancer, precision medicine uses specific information about a person’s tumor to help diagnose, plan treatment, find out how well treatment is working, or make a prognosis. Also called personalized medicine."

Precision Medicine | FDA

The Promise of Precision Medicine | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Definition: Targeted Cancer Therapies
from National Cancer Institute (NCI)

“Targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other substances that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules ("molecular targets") that are involved in the growth, progression, and spread of cancer. Targeted cancer therapies are sometimes called "molecularly targeted drugs," "molecularly targeted therapies," "precision medicines," or similar names.


Targeted therapies differ from standard chemotherapy in several ways:

  • Targeted therapies act on specific molecular targets that are associated with cancer, whereas most standard chemotherapies act on all rapidly dividing normal and cancerous cells.

  • Targeted therapies are deliberately chosen or designed to interact with their target, whereas many standard chemotherapies were identified because they kill cells. 

  • Targeted therapies are often cytostatic (that is, they block tumor cell proliferation), whereas standard chemotherapy agents are cytotoxic (that is, they kill tumor cells). 

Targeted therapies are currently the focus of much anticancer drug development. They are a cornerstone of precision medicine, a form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes and proteins to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.


Many targeted cancer therapies have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat specific types of cancer. Others are being studied in clinical trials (research studies with people), and many more are in preclinical testing (research studies with animals).”


Definition: Biomarkers
from National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Biomarkers: “A biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Also called molecular marker and signature molecule.”


Six Reasons Biomarker Testing Is Important for Endometrial Cancer

In endometrial cancer (uterine cancer), tumor cells may contain genes, proteins, or other molecules that aren’t found within healthy uterine cells. These different molecules, caused by genetic abnormalities, are called biomarkers or molecular markers. Through biomarker testing, a doctor can determine which biomarkers you have.

Knowing which biomarkers your tumor contains can be helpful in several ways. Biomarkers can provide clues about how your cells will grow and tell your doctor which endometrial cancer treatments are most likely to be effective.

Click the link below to learn more about how your doctor can use your cancer biomarkers to offer you personalized medicine.

Molecular Profiling of Tumors
from U.S. National Library of Medicine
Deanna Cross, PhD and James K. Burmester, PhD

“The completion of the human genome sequence, in conjunction with newer, cheaper, and more reliable methods of gene expression analysis has the potential to revolutionize cancer diagnosis and treatment. By providing a molecular portrait of an individual cancer, this technology will allow clinicians to determine the origin of the cancer, its potential for metastasis, its specific drug responsiveness, and the probability of its recurrence….”


★ COCA can connect you with a survivor who has done molecular profiling as well as connect you with The Clearity Foundation. Clearity pays for the lab testing if your insurance will not.


The Clearity Foundation – Molecular Profiling for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer
8880 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 800 San Diego, CA 92108-1642 

Phone: 858.6570282

Fax: 858.657.0265
Patient Services:

“A tumor blueprint provides a detailed profile of the molecular characteristics of a tumor. It is generated by measuring a panel of protein biomarkers and testing for molecular changes in over 300 genes. Your Tumor Blueprint interpretative report suggests drug treatments that match and therefore may be more likely to be effective for you if you have a recurrence of your cancer. Some of those drugs may be available through clinical trials for which you may be eligible. Clearity’s team of scientists survey the medical literature on an ongoing basis to identify and update the connections between protein biomarkers and genetic changes in the tumor and responsiveness to specific drugs that are used to treat cancer…. Initial treatment for ovarian cancer typically includes surgery followed by chemotherapy drugs such as Carboplatin and Taxol. This treatment is effective in the majority of women, but, unfortunately, the cancer frequently comes back and a new treatment is required. Recurrent cancer is likely to require different treatment because tumors turn on other pathways and become resistant to some chemotherapies. As a non-profit organization, Clearity Foundation provides its patient support services free of charge. Our services include molecular testing coordination, reporting and interpretation of results, and identification of clinical trials for which you may be eligible. The cost of the molecular testing will vary depending on your insurance.”  Also see page 57.



Molecular Tumor Analysis / Molecular Profiling
“Could your doctor use new technologies to better predict which treatments will work for your unique cancer?

“The oncology community has made great strides in identifying unique genes, proteins and other molecules called cancer biomarkers that can provide clues about how your cancer functions and which treatment options have been linked to these biomarkers. Although not standard protocol, advanced genetic and molecular tumor analysis (often called molecular profiling) can create a comprehensive cancer biomarker profile that may help identify potential treatment options.


Molecular profiling to create a comprehensive biomarker profile is an important new option for patients in several situations:

  • Standard or first-line treatment options aren’t working.

  • Your doctor is choosing between multiple recommended treatments.

  • Your cancer is particularly aggressive or rare or has limited treatment options for other reasons. Biomarker testing has become standard of care before treatment for some cancer types including certain types of lung, stomach, colon, skin and breast cancers. But for most cancer types, this type of upfront testing is not yet standard.


The cancer biomarkers identified through comprehensive molecular profiling won’t help everyone, but this type of testing has the potential to help some patients evaluate possible treatment options.


Biomarker analysis may help you find potential treatment paths, but only your doctor can advise you on which treatment paths to consider. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.”

Association for Molecular Pathology

"...Patient-facing educational materials to help explain what happens in a molecular diagnostic laboratory between the time when a patient sample is taken and when a report is delivered to the treating physician and/or patient. They also provide straight-forward answers to the general questions that patients have but are unable to easily find answers to."

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