Cost-effectiveness of precision cancer medicine-current challenges in the use of next generation sequencing for comprehensive tumour genomic profiling and the role of clinical utility frameworks (Review)

Mol Clin Oncol. 2022 Jan;16(1):21. doi: 10.3892/mco.2021.2453. Epub 2021 Nov 25.


Precision cancer medicine (PCM) is an emerging paradigm in oncology, which includes tumour comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) to enable molecularly guided therapy. However, cost-effectiveness analyses of PCM are faced with several challenges and, thus, its cost-effectiveness remains unclear. Early trials using only molecularly guided therapy were faced with the challenge of providing adequate measures of outcome, which probably explains the modest treatment benefits demonstrated. Endpoints like the progression-free survival (PFS)2/PFS1 ratio may assist in overcoming this issue. Moreover, specific tumour subtypes appear to benefit more from PCM. Costs associated with next-generation sequencing (NGS) for CGP are decreasing, but targeted therapy itself represents a major cost driver. CGP not only enables prediction of response to treatment, but also resistance, and could thus prevent administration of unnecessary (and costly) therapies. In clinical practice, the presence of clinical frameworks, such as the Recommendations for the Use of NGS for Patients with Metastatic Cancers from the ESMO Precision Medicine Working Group, and the ESMO Scale for Clinical Actionability of Molecular Targets, are essential in appropriately identifying situations where PCM is clinically meaningful, thereby improving its cost-effectiveness.

Keywords: comprehensive genomic profiling; cost effectiveness; next generation sequencing; precision cancer medicine; targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

Funding: No funding was received.