Our integrative approach to help drug decision and monitoring of cancer
Histological verification of the tumour is the first step. This is essential to enable the pathologist to confirm the diagnosis, evaluate the percentage of tumour cells in the specimen and select the most appropriate part of the tumour on which genomic analysis will be performed.
Tumour cells have genetic modifications which give them a growth advantage over healthy cells. These genetic modifications or mutations detected by DNA sequencing are now the targets of new therapies (called 'targeted therapies') which selectively kill tumour cells.
Genetic analysis of a patient's tumour identifies specific mutations and makes it possible to choose personalised treatment, i.e. a drug targeting the mutated gene. This revolution in cancer treatment which has taken place over recent years is called personalised medicine.
Monitoring of the evolution of the tumour in a patient and its response or resistance to treatment can now be refined using biomarkers specific to the tumour. In addition, genetic modifications in the tumour can be detected in the patient's blood (circulating tumour DNA), providing a tool for quantitative monitoring of the tumour.