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JCO Precision Oncology Special Series


Equity in Precision Medicine

The relationships between health disparities, genetics, and social determinants of health are complex. This collection of articles explores the intersection of these areas and the implications for equity in precision medicine, including the need for adequate diversity in genomics research and clinical trials, barriers to risk-reducing interventions for hereditary cancer syndromes, and calls for consistent terminology for and awareness of genetic testing for cancer.


Next Generation Sequencing

This Special Series from JCO Precision Oncology and JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics includes reviews addressing the challenge of structuring nomenclature for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) that is actionable and meaningful and aligned with precision medicine. This Special Series provides guidance on factors and decision-making processes for choosing the right platform, how to reduce expenses from manual burdens and how to allocate resources to successfully enable this important strategy for clinical cancer care. In alignment with ASCO’s mission to conquer cancer through research, education, and promotion of the highest quality patient care, this series aims to heighten awareness among cancer care providers of the opportunity to operationalize NGS testing and have it efficiently and effectively contribute to patient care.


Statistical Methods for Precision Oncology

Papers in this series provide tutorials on statistical methods that are used in precision oncology, such as methods in discovery phase, diagnostics, and drug development. The goal of the series is to increase awareness among clinical researchers of the different statistical questions as well as new approaches for discovery, development, and patient management in the precision oncology era.

Liquid Biopsies

Noninvasive testing and genotyping methods known as ‘liquid biopsies’ are rapidly being integrated into cancer care. In this group of original reports, commentary, and editorial, we illustrate the promise and challenges of such approaches (e.g. circulating free or tumor DNA, plasma cell-free DNA, circulating cells, and others) as predictive or prognostic factors in the context of molecularly targeted cancer therapies, and as tumor markers for early detection and screening.


Next-Generation Sequencing for Sarcomas

Sarcomas are rare malignancies, and novel therapies are desperately needed for this challenging group of cancers. Next-generation sequencing and identification of genetic mutations occurring in tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes has allowed additional subtyping of cancer beyond histologic appearance. In this group of original report, review article, case report, and editorial, we illustrate how next-generation sequencing can help better customize therapies and improve outcomes of sarcoma patients.

BRCA Reversions

Recent studies have shown that cancers associated with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes exhibit sensitivity to chemotherapy with platinum drugs due to deficient DNA repair, and newly approved PARP inhibitors through synthetic lethality. Mechanisms of drug resistance have now been described. In this set of 3 case reports and an editorial by one of our Associate Editors we consider the fascinating but daunting observation of reversion mutations in BRCA1/2 resulting in drug resistance and its implications for precision oncology.

Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

The increased awareness that a small but significant proportion of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma harbor germline mutations in cancer susceptibility genes associated with homologous recombination has important therapeutic implications. In this set of three original reports and an insightful editorial, we highlight the potential impact of precision oncology on clinical outcomes in this difficult to treat malignancy, and suggest that genetic testing criteria be expanded for these patients so as to identify those that may benefit.


Microsatellite Instability

The recent discovery that tumor microsatellite instability results in remarkable responses of colorectal and other cancers to immunotherapy checkpoint inhibitors has led to a dramatic interest in this new approach to targeting the mutator phenotype in cancers. In this set of articles, including an editorial, two case reports and two original reports, we focus on the future of this novel therapeutic approach and its role in precision oncology.

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