Overcoming implementation challenges of personalized cancer therapy

Funda Meric-Bernstam, Gordon B. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Personalized cancer therapy is based on the precept that detailed molecular characterization of the patient's tumour and its microenvironment will enable tailored therapies to improve outcomes and decrease toxicity. The goal of personalized therapy is to target aberrations that drive tumour growth and survival, by administering the right drug combination for the right person. This is becoming increasingly achievable with advances in high-throughput technologies to characterize tumours and the expanding repertoire of molecularly targeted therapies. However, there are numerous challenges that need to be surpassed before delivering on the promise of personalized cancer therapy. These include tumour heterogeneity and molecular evolution, costs and potential morbidity of biopsies, lack of effective drugs against most genomic aberrations, technical limitations of molecular tests, and reimbursement and regulatory hurdles. Critically, the 'hype' surrounding personalized cancer therapy must be tempered with realistic expectations, which, today, encompass increased survival times for only a portion of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-548
Number of pages7
JournalNature Reviews Clinical Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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