ESMO Publishes Precision Medicine Glossary

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has published its ESMO Precision Medicine Glossary in Annals of Oncology. The glossary’s 43 definitions are set to pave the way for consistent communication on precision medicine between oncologists, researchers, and patients by standardizing the language in the field.

There has been a paradigm shift in cancer treatment toward precision medicine, which tailors therapeutic interventions to the individual molecular features of a patient and/or their disease. The field of precision medicine has brought many new concepts and terminologies that are often poorly defined when first introduced and may subsequently lead to miscommunications.

Fabrice André, MD, PhD, corresponding author of the Annals of Oncology piece, said, “The glossary is all about providing those working in oncology with common terminology. It is an important tool for improving understanding and communication in this field and should be essential reading for every oncologist.”

Composition of the Glossary

The terms included are those identified in an ESMO member survey as causing oncologists the most confusion. Each term was defined by a consensus of experts in the field. The definitions are grouped into five main themes: mechanisms of decision; characteristics of molecular alterations; tumor characteristics; clinical trials and statistics; and new research tools.

“This is not a glossary of scientific terms,” said Lucy Yates, MD, first author of the Annals of Oncology paper. “This latest glossary is different in that it deals with all the new concepts in precision medicine that have emerged in the last 5 to 10 years. I am not aware of anything similar to the ESMO Precision Medicine Glossary being available elsewhere."

Dr. André concluded, “This glossary should go a long way toward making sure that we are all speaking the same language in precision medicine. Oncologists can feel confident that they are using the correct terms when speaking to colleagues and patients, and this will maximize our use of precision medicine to benefit patients with cancer.”

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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