Standards and Guidelines for the Interpretation and Reporting of Sequence Variants in Cancer: A Joint Consensus Recommendation of the Association for Molecular Pathology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and College of American Pathologists

J Mol Diagn. 2017 Jan;19(1):4-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2016.10.002.


Widespread clinical laboratory implementation of next-generation sequencing-based cancer testing has highlighted the importance and potential benefits of standardizing the interpretation and reporting of molecular results among laboratories. A multidisciplinary working group tasked to assess the current status of next-generation sequencing-based cancer testing and establish standardized consensus classification, annotation, interpretation, and reporting conventions for somatic sequence variants was convened by the Association for Molecular Pathology with liaison representation from the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and College of American Pathologists. On the basis of the results of professional surveys, literature review, and the Working Group's subject matter expert consensus, a four-tiered system to categorize somatic sequence variations based on their clinical significances is proposed: tier I, variants with strong clinical significance; tier II, variants with potential clinical significance; tier III, variants of unknown clinical significance; and tier IV, variants deemed benign or likely benign. Cancer genomics is a rapidly evolving field; therefore, the clinical significance of any variant in therapy, diagnosis, or prognosis should be reevaluated on an ongoing basis. Reporting of genomic variants should follow standard nomenclature, with testing method and limitations clearly described. Clinical recommendations should be concise and correlate with histological and clinical findings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA Mutational Analysis / standards*
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Genetic Testing
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / standards*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Reference Standards