The main molecular profiling approaches used in oncology: technology, advantages and limitations


  • Cristina Popescu, PhD – Department of Oncogenetics, AMS Genetic Laboratory, Bucharest & Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, “Vasile Goldiş” Western University of Arad, Romania.
  • Dr. Valeria Belengeanu – Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, “Vasile Goldiş” Western University of Arad, Romania.


Over the past 10 years, we have seen major scientific advances in our understanding of cancer, and this knowledge has created novel opportunities for personalized medicine.

The primary goal of precision medicine is to deliver the right treatments to the right patient at the right time.

Tumor analysis by next generation sequencing (NGS) and other profiling technologies together with more efficient treatments are promising to fulfill this goal. Doctors can now select medications based on the presence of specific biomarkers to customize the treatment given to each patient. Tumor profiling can help not only to increase the chances of survival, but also to avoid unnecessary treatments and their potential toxicity. Although this approach sounds promising, there are a few limitations to their full implementation in routine practice. Some are related to the healthcare system, like poor access to targeted agents, cost of treatments, cost of the testing and lack of clinical trial availability, while others are related to the testing itself, such as the complexity of the molecular information generated, uncertainty regarding the clinical utility of the information, and clinicians’ education. This is the context in which we discuss two major tumor molecular profiling directions that are currently used in clinical oncology practice.


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