My Cancer is an educational resource for cancer patients and their caregivers, sponsored by Caris Life Sciences®. The site is designed to provide information about molecular profiling, cancer biomarkers and the transformation of cancer treatment through emerging research.










New technologies are redefining cancer diagnosis.
Do you know your cancer biomarkers?

There’s a lot of talk about personalized cancer treatment and cancer genetic testing these days. But it’s not quite as simple as a cancer gene test.

Most people use the term “personalized treatment” to refer to treatment guided by cancer gene tests and other advanced diagnostics that determine the specific attributes of your unique cancer. Your doctor has multiple testing platforms to choose from when personalizing treatment, all designed to do different things.

Molecular profiling is a promising new approach in cancer treatment

Of the various tests people refer to when they’re talking about “personalized” cancer treatments, molecular profiling is widely utilized and studied.

Molecular Profiling

There are many types of cancer biomarkers — including genes, proteins and specific molecules — and therefore many ways to uncover and measure them:

  • IHC (immunohistochemistry) testing to identify expression of proteins at the cellular level
  • FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization) to identify genes with multiple copies or rearrangements
  • DNA sequencing, PCR (poymerase chain reaction) and NGS (next-generation sequencing) to identify mutated genes

Often these tests can be run from tissue samples taken during your biopsy, but sometimes you may have to have new samples taken. Your doctor can help determine what is appropriate for you.

You may have heard of other types of genetic testing being used to personalize treatment — but they aren’t all used for the same things.

Genetic Testing

Cancer genetic testing identifies certain gene mutations in the patient’s own DNA that may help predict the risk of getting certain types of rare, inherited cancers, before you actually have it.

Next-Generation Sequencing

NGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) analyzes amplified pieces of tumor DNA or RNA thousands of times to detect mutations. It can be a powerful tool when used in combination with other technologies.

Genomic Testing

Genomic testing looks at what’s called “gene expression” caused by the interaction of multiple genes and other factors within a tumor. (See Additional Resources for more information.)

Chemosensitivity and Chemoresistance Testing

Chemosensitivity and chemoresistance tests (sometimes called CSRA) analyze cells that were removed from your body during a biopsy and grown in a laboratory to assess how they will react to various chemotherapies. This type of testing is primarily used for cancer research. (See Additional Resources for more information.)

Biomarker testing through molecular profiling may help your doctor evaluate potential treatment options.

Once you have a comprehensive biomarker profile through molecular profiling, the next step is matching up your test results with published cancer research. There have been thousands of studies by respected scientists about advanced cancer treatments associated with particular biomarkers. Evidence-based molecular profiling uses this wealth of data to match the biomarkers in your cancer with relevant research about treatments.

> Learn more about how you can benefit from knowing your cancer biomarkers.