Unlocking the Potential of Pharmacogenetics in Oncology: Personalizing Cancer Treatment

Pharmacogenetics plays a crucial role in the field of oncology by making it possible to customize cancer treatment according to the individual genetic characteristics of each patient. Genetic variability can influence patients' response to cancer drugs, meaning that the efficacy and side effects of a specific treatment may vary according to each person's genetics. Here we will explore how genetic testing can help personalize therapy and improve patient survival in the context of oncology pharmacogenetics.

Identification of predictive biomarkers: Genetic testing in oncology allows the identification of genetic biomarkers that can predict response to certain treatments. These biomarkers may be associated with the efficacy of a particular drug or the likelihood that a patient will experience serious side effects. For example, in breast cancer, the presence of the HER2/neu variant in the ERBB2 gene is a predictive biomarker for response to the drug trastuzumab.

Targeted therapy selection: Pharmacogenetics can help select the most appropriate targeted therapy for a patient based on the genetic characteristics of their tumor. By identifying the specific genetic mutations present in the tumor, drugs can be administered that act directly on those alterations. For example, in non-small cell lung cancer with mutations in the EGFR gene, EGFR inhibitors such as erlotinib or gefitinib may be more effective.

Prevention of serious side effects: Genetic testing in oncology pharmacogenetics can help identify patients at increased risk of developing serious side effects. For example, in the case of certain chemotherapy drugs, such as 5-fluorouracil, the presence of a specific enzyme variant (DPYD*2A) can increase the risk of severe toxicity. With this information, doses can be adjusted or treatment alternatives can be considered to avoid or minimize side effects.

Overall, pharmacogenetics in oncology enables personalized, genetic evidence-based medicine, leading to more effective and safer treatment for cancer patients.

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a large group of people with pink flags