Next-generation sequencing for the management of sarcomas with no known driver mutations

Curr Opin Oncol. 2021 Jul 1;33(4):315-322. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000741.


Purpose of review: Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has enabled fast, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing and has begun to be implemented into clinical practice for genomic-guided precision medicine in various cancer types. This review will discuss recent evidence that highlights opportunities for NGS to improve outcomes in sarcomas that have complex genomic profiles with no known driver mutations.

Recent findings: Global genomic signatures detectable by NGS including tumour mutational burden and microsatellite instability have potential as biomarkers for response to immunotherapy in certain sarcoma subtypes including angiosarcomas. Identification of hallmarks associated with 'BRCAness' and homologous recombination repair defects in leiomyosarcomas and osteosarcomas may predict sensitivity to poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. Lastly, the use of NGS for evaluating cancer predisposition in sarcomas may be useful for early detection, screening and surveillance.

Summary: Currently, the implementation of NGS for every sarcoma patient is not practical or useful. However, adopting NGS as a complementary approach in sarcomas with complex genomics and those with limited treatment options has the potential to deliver precision medicine to a subgroup of patients, with novel therapies such as immune checkpoint and PARP inhibitors. Moving forward, molecular tumour boards incorporating multidisciplinary teams of pathologists, oncologists and genomic specialists to interpret NGS data will complement existing tools in diagnosis and treatment decision making in sarcoma patients.

Trial registration: NCT03880019 NCT02398058.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Immunotherapy
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Mutation
  • Precision Medicine
  • Sarcoma / drug therapy
  • Sarcoma / genetics*
  • Sarcoma / immunology
  • Sarcoma / therapy*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Associated data