Purpose: The term precision oncology typically refers to molecularly guided therapies against cancer. Less appreciated but also critically important is molecular identification of patients with resectable disease who are most likely to benefit from perioperative drugs, and tailored selection of such drugs. We call this idea precision perioperative therapy. Over the past several years, use of precision perioperative approaches for patients with localized GI cancers has expanded in clinical trials and practice. Here, we summarize the status of the field and highlight areas of future innovation.
Methods: Using PubMed, we reviewed articles published from 2017 to 2023 in English. We used search terms "adjuvant," "perioperative," "neoadjuvant," and "precision medicine" for various types of GI malignancies. Information about ongoing clinical trials was accessed through ClinicalTrials.gov, accessed January 2023.
Results: Paradigms such as minimal residual disease detection via circulating tumor DNA and perioperative immunotherapy in lieu of chemotherapy for mismatch repair-deficient disease may lead to reduced toxicity and improved long-term outcomes in select populations. Molecularly targeted drugs that have shown activity against metastatic disease may also hold promise in the curable setting.
Conclusion: The field is very much in development, but emerging data demonstrate early promise. We are optimistic that ongoing research efforts will increasingly bring precision perioperative therapy to patients with resectable GI malignancies.