What is Precision Medicine?
Precision medicine uses new diagnostic tests to treat the right patient with the right medicine at the right time based on the genetic make-up of that patient’s cancer. The promise of precision medicine is this: someday, there will be no trial and error for prostate cancer drugs. Precision diagnosis is the process of looking at the genetic and molecular characteristics of your unique tumor (uniquely mutated genes and uniquely expressed proteins), and using this information to identify the tumor’s weaknesses. Think of it like taking your cancer’s fingerprint. Because every cancer fingerprint is different, each cancer needs a custom-tailored treatment. Once that level of identification is possible, custom selected treatments have the potential to be effective with no more guess work. Since cancer is a “genomic” disease (that is, most cancers involve mutations of various genes), precision oncology is one of the most exciting fields in research today.
Because every cancer fingerprint is different, each cancer needs a custom treatment.
By example, if you have advanced prostate cancer and conventional hormonal therapy is no longer working, you might be helped by a new treatment regime—but you might not. Now, instead of wasting precious time and money, and experiencing the side effects of therapies that will not benefit you, you can talk to your doctor about whether you should take one of these medicines, through tests that use either tumor biopsies or your blood to evaluate the genome and molecular make-up of your cancer. In fact, the newest precision medicine, called Lu-PSMA, is based on imaging: whether the prostate cancer has a protein called PSMA on its surface, as shown by a PSMA PET scan.
This table lists some examples of precision treatment approaches and the tests used to guide their use.
|Test Result||Possible Treatment|
|Mutations in certain DNA damage repair
genes (in blood or tumor)
|Treatment with a PARP inhibitor|
|AR-V7 gene expression||Tumor is less likely to respond to hormone
therapy; consider other options
|Mutations in MMR genes, microsatellite
instability (MSI) or high tumor mutational
|Treatment with pembrolizumab|
|PSMA-positive PET scan||Treatment with lutetium-PSMA|
Every day, more and more precision therapies are coming to clinical trials, and hopefully, soon to market. Someday, the hope is that your cancer treatment will be 100% designed for your cancer, and it will be 100% effective.
Download the Prostate Cancer Patient Guide to learn more about new precision therapies and investigational treatments in Phase 1 trials