Clinical Molecular Marker Testing Data Capture to Promote Precision Medicine Research Within the Cancer Research Network

JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2019 Sep:3:1-10. doi: 10.1200/CCI.19.00026.


Purpose: To evaluate health care systems for the availability of population-level data on the frequency of use and results of clinical molecular marker tests to inform precision cancer care.

Methods: We assessed cancer-related molecular marker test data availability across 12 US health care systems in the Cancer Research Network. Overall, these systems provide care to a diverse population of more than 12 million people in the United States. We performed qualitative analyses of test data availability for five blood-based protein, nine germline, and 14 tissue-based tumor marker tests in each health care system's electronic health record and tumor registry using key informants, test code lists, and manual review of data types and output. We then performed quantitative analyses to estimate the proportion of patients with cancer with test utilization data and results for specific molecular marker tests.

Results: Health systems were able to systematically capture population-level data on all five blood protein markers, six of 14 tissue-based tumor markers, and none of the nine germline markers. Successful, systematic data capture was achievable for tests with electronic data feeds for test results (blood protein markers) or through prior manual abstraction by tumor registrars (select tumor-based markers). For test results stored in scanned image files (particularly germline and tumor marker tests), information on which test was performed and test results was not readily accessible in an electronic format.

Conclusion: Even in health care systems with sophisticated electronic health records, there were few codified data elements available for evaluating precision cancer medicine test use and results at the population level. Health care organizations should establish standards for electronic reporting of precision medicine tests to expedite cancer research and facilitate the implementation of precision medicine approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Data Collection
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Disease Management
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans
  • Liquid Biopsy
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Precision Medicine
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Research
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor