Are online prediction tools a valid alternative to genomic profiling in the context of systemic treatment of ER-positive breast cancer?
BACKGROUND: Clinicians use clinical and pathological parameters, such as tumour size, grade and nodal status, to make decisions on adjuvant treatments for breast cancer. However, therapeutic decisions based on these features tend to vary due to their subjectivity. Computational and mathematical algorithms were developed using clinical outcome data from breast cancer registries, such as Adjuvant! Online and NHS PREDICT. More recently, assessments of molecular profiles have been applied in the development of better prognostic tools. METHODS: Based on the available literature on online registry-based tools and genomic assays, we evaluated whether these online tools could be valid and accurate alternatives to genomic and molecular profiling of the individual breast tumour in aiding therapeutic decisions, particularly in patients with early ER-positive breast cancer. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Early breast cancer is currently considered a systemic disease and a complex ecosystem with behaviour determined by the complex genetic and molecular signatures of the tumour cells, mammary stem cells, microenvironment and host immune system. We anticipate that molecular profiling will continue to evolve, expanding beyond the primary tumour to include the tumour microenvironment, cancer stem cells and host immune system. This should further refine therapeutic decisions and optimise clinical outcome. This article was specially invited by the editors and represents work by leading researchers.