Challenges and future of biomarker tests in the era of precision oncology: Can we rely on immunohistochemistry (IHC) or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to select the optimal patients for matched therapy?

Young Kwang Chae _, Ayush Arya, Lauren Chiec, Hiral Shah, Ari Rosenberg, Sandip Patel, Kirtee Raparia, Jaehyuk Choi, Derek A. Wainwright, Victoria Villaflor, Massimo Cristofanilli and Francis Giles

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:100863-100898. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19809

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Young Kwang Chae1,2,3, Ayush Arya2, Lauren Chiec2, Hiral Shah1, Ari Rosenberg2, Sandip Patel4, Kirtee Raparia2,3, Jaehyuk Choi2,3, Derek A. Wainwright2,3, Victoria Villaflor1,2,3, Massimo Cristofanilli1,2,3 and Francis Giles1,2,3

1Developmental Therapeutics Program of the Division of Hematology Oncology, Chicago, IL, USA

2Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA

3Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

4University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

Correspondence to:

Young Kwang Chae, email: [email protected]

Keywords: IHC, FISH, predictive, biomarker, targeted therapy

Received: October 13, 2016     Accepted: April 11, 2017     Published: August 01, 2017


Molecular techniques have improved our understanding of the pathogenesis of cancer development. These techniques have also fueled the rational development of targeted drugs for patient populations stratified by their genetic characteristics. These novel methods have changed the classic paradigm of diagnostic pathology; among them are IHC, FISH, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and microarray technology. IHC and FISH detection methods for human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) were recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as routine clinical practice for cancer patients. Here, we discuss general challenges related to the predictive power of these molecular biomarkers for targeted therapy in cancer medicine. We will also discuss the prospects of utilizing new biomarkers for fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and hepatocyte growth factor receptor (cMET/MET) targeted therapies for developing new and robust predictive biomarkers in oncology.

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