Lab Med Online.  2015 Jan;5(1):44-54. 10.3343/lmo.2015.5.1.44.

Translation: Companion Biomarkers: Paving the Pathway to Personalized Treatment for Cancer

Affiliations
  • 1UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, Conway Institute, University College of Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2Clinical Research Centre, St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 3Department of Medical Oncology, St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Companion biomarkers are biomarkers that are used in combination with specific therapies and that prospectively help predict likely response or severe toxicity. In this article we review the role of companion biomarkers in guiding treatment in patients with cancer. CONTENT: In addition to the established companion biomarkers such as estrogen receptors and HER 2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) in breast cancer, several new companion biomarkers have become available in recent years. These include v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) mutations for the selection of patients with advanced colorectal cancer who are unlikely to benefit from anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibodies (cetuximab or panitumumab), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations for selecting patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (gefitinib or erlotinib), v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (BRAF) mutations for selecting patients with advanced melanoma for treatment with anti-BRAF agents (vemurafenib and dabrafenib), and anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase (ALK) translocations for identifying patients with NSCLC likely to benefit from crizotinib. Summary: The availability of companion biomarkers should improve drug efficacy, decrease toxicity, and lead to a more individualized approach to cancer treatment. SUMMARY: The availability of companion biomarkers should improve drug efficacy, decrease toxicity, and lead to a more individualized approach to cancer treatment.

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