, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 329-337
Date: 12 Oct 2008

Personalized therapy of sarcomas: Integration of biomarkers for improved diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy selection

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Abstract

An improved understanding of cancer’s molecular diversity at the genetic, proteomic, and epigenetic levels has made it evident that “sarcoma” comprises more than 50 different types, each as unique as, for example, breast carcinoma is from colon carcinoma. Sarcomas exhibit characteristic differences in cell of origin, disease site, likelihood and site of metastasis, growth propensity, and chemosensitivity. Additionally, as many as one third of sarcomas harbor specific chromosomal translocations that can be used to discriminate one subtype from another. Although biomarkers can be integrated into clinical practice to improve diagnostic accuracy and predict treatment response, a number of challenges hinder their widespread use. This review addresses the current use of biomarkers for clinical oncology, with special emphasis on diagnosis, staging, and grading. It also discusses types of biomarkers that are emerging to aid selection of therapy for patients with sarcoma. Finally, we consider practical factors that appear to limit biomarker integration into clinical practice.