Purpose: Implementing cancer precision medicine in the clinic requires assessing the therapeutic relevance of genomic alterations. A main challenge is the systematic interpretation of whole-exome sequencing (WES) data for clinical care.
Methods: One hundred sixty-five adults with metastatic colorectal and lung adenocarcinomas were prospectively enrolled in the CanSeq study. WES was performed on DNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor biopsy samples and matched blood samples. Somatic and germ-line alterations were ranked according to therapeutic or clinical relevance. Results were interpreted using an integrated somatic and germ-line framework and returned in accordance with patient preferences.
Results: At the time of this analysis, WES had been performed and results returned to the clinical team for 165 participants. Of 768 curated somatic alterations, only 31% were associated with clinical evidence and 69% with preclinical or inferential evidence. Of 806 curated germ-line variants, 5% were clinically relevant and 56% were classified as variants of unknown significance. The variant review and decision-making processes were effective when the process was changed from that of a Molecular Tumor Board to a protocol-based approach.
Conclusion: The development of novel interpretive and decision-support tools that draw from scientific and clinical evidence will be crucial for the success of cancer precision medicine in WES studies.Genet Med advance online publication 26 January 2017.