Real-world data from a molecular tumor board demonstrates improved outcomes with a precision N-of-One strategy

Nat Commun. 2020 Oct 2;11(1):4965. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18613-3.


Next-generation sequencing (NGS) can identify novel cancer targets. However, interpreting the molecular findings and accessing drugs/clinical trials is challenging. Furthermore, many tumors show resistance to monotherapies. To implement a precision strategy, we initiated a multidisciplinary (basic/translational/clinical investigators, bioinformaticians, geneticists, and physicians from multiple specialties) molecular tumor board (MTB), which included a project manager to facilitate obtaining clinical-grade biomarkers (blood/tissue NGS, specific immunohistochemistry/RNA expression including for immune-biomarkers, per physician discretion) and medication-acquisition specialists/clinical trial coordinators/navigators to assist with medication access. The MTB comprehensively reviewed patient characteristics to develop N-of-One treatments implemented by the treating physician's direction under the auspices of a master protocol. Overall, 265/429 therapy-evaluable patients (62%) were matched to ≥1 recommended drug. Eighty-six patients (20%) matched to all drugs recommended by MTB, including combinatorial approaches, while 38% received physician's choice regimen, generally with unmatched approach/low degree of matching. Our results show that patients who receive MTB-recommended regimens (versus physician choice) have significantly longer progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS), and are better matched to therapy. High (≥50%) versus low (<50%) Matching Score therapy (roughly reflecting therapy matched to ≥50% versus <50% of alterations) independently correlates with longer PFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.50-0.80; P < 0.001) and OS (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.50-0.90; P = 0.007) and higher stable disease ≥6 months/partial/complete remission rate (52.1% versus 30.4% P < 0.001) (all multivariate). In conclusion, patients who receive MTB-based therapy are better matched to their genomic alterations, and the degree of matching is an independent predictor of improved oncologic outcomes including survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Circulating Tumor DNA / genetics
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Precision Medicine
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Circulating Tumor DNA