Use of molecular markers for predicting therapy response in cancer patients

Cancer Treat Rev. 2011 Apr;37(2):151-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2010.07.004. Epub 2010 Aug 3.


Predictive markers are factors that are associated with upfront response or resistance to a particular therapy. Predictive markers are important in oncology as tumors of the same tissue of origin vary widely in their response to most available systemic therapies. Currently recommended oncological predictive markers include both estrogen and progesterone receptors for identifying patients with breast cancers likely to benefit from hormone therapy, HER-2 for the identification of breast cancer patients likely to benefit from trastuzumab, specific K-RAS mutations for the identification of patients with advanced colorectal cancer unlikely to benefit from either cetuximab or panitumumab and specific EGFR mutations for selecting patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer for treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as gefitinib and erlotinib. The availability of predictive markers should increase drug efficacy and decrease toxicity, thus leading to a more personalized approach to cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lapatinib
  • Mutation
  • Precision Medicine
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use
  • Trastuzumab
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Biomarkers
  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Quinazolines
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Tamoxifen
  • Lapatinib
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins
  • Trastuzumab