Whole-genome and transcriptome analysis enhances precision cancer treatment options

Ann Oncol. 2022 Sep;33(9):939-949. doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2022.05.522. Epub 2022 Jun 9.


Background: Recent advances are enabling delivery of precision genomic medicine to cancer clinics. While the majority of approaches profile panels of selected genes or hotspot regions, comprehensive data provided by whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing and analysis (WGTA) present an opportunity to align a much larger proportion of patients to therapies.

Patients and methods: Samples from 570 patients with advanced or metastatic cancer of diverse types enrolled in the Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program underwent WGTA. DNA-based data, including mutations, copy number and mutation signatures, were combined with RNA-based data, including gene expression and fusions, to generate comprehensive WGTA profiles. A multidisciplinary molecular tumour board used WGTA profiles to identify and prioritize clinically actionable alterations and inform therapy. Patient responses to WGTA-informed therapies were collected.

Results: Clinically actionable targets were identified for 83% of patients, of which 37% of patients received WGTA-informed treatments. RNA expression data were particularly informative, contributing to 67% of WGTA-informed treatments; 25% of treatments were informed by RNA expression alone. Of a total 248 WGTA-informed treatments, 46% resulted in clinical benefit. RNA expression data were comparable to DNA-based mutation and copy number data in aligning to clinically beneficial treatments. Genome signatures also guided therapeutics including platinum, poly-ADP ribose polymerase inhibitors and immunotherapies. Patients accessed WGTA-informed treatments through clinical trials (19%), off-label use (35%) and as standard therapies (46%) including those which would not otherwise have been the next choice of therapy, demonstrating the utility of genomic information to direct use of chemotherapies as well as targeted therapies.

Conclusions: Integrating RNA expression and genome data illuminated treatment options that resulted in 46% of treated patients experiencing positive clinical benefit, supporting the use of comprehensive WGTA profiling in clinical cancer care.

Keywords: cancer genomics; chemotherapy; personalized medicine; targeted therapy; transcriptome sequencing; whole-genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genomics / methods
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • RNA
  • Transcriptome


  • RNA