What is tumour profiling?

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In recent years, increasing numbers of oncologists have adopted precision medicine as a treatment approach for various cancers that have historically been characterised and treated based on body location. This approach has been aided by the development of molecular profiling that can help doctors personalise treatment plans for individual patients.1

A molecular profile reveals unique characteristics of a person’s disease at the molecular level, providing doctors with knowledge about which treatments are most likely to produce the best results, including treatments that may not have been previously considered. Molecular profiling may also help patients avoid treatments that are ineffective, unnecessary, and potentially harmful.1

How is tumour profiling information generated?

When a sample from your tumour undergoes molecular profiling, your oncologist receives a report that lists the genetic and molecular biomarkers that make up your tumour. This unique information can help your oncologist personalise your treatment plan by predicting which treatments your cancer is likely to respond to.2

A sample from a biopsy of your tumour is sent to a laboratory, where it undergoes a series of advanced molecular profiling tests to identify the unique biomarkers of your cancer – this is called your biomarker profile.2

How is the information turned into a tumour profile?

Once complete, your biomarker profile is compared to thousands of published studies to identify which treatments your cancer is likely – or not likely – to respond to, based on the molecular and genetic characteristics of your tumour. Within a few days, your doctor will receive this comparison in the form of a molecular profiling report.2

Your doctor will then use this report to develop a personalised treatment plan for you, based on your tumour’s unique characteristics.2

Caris uses a multi-technology approach to molecular profiling

Your doctor may choose from among several molecular profiling services that follow similar processes. However, not every molecular profiling service is created equally. Some involve the use of multiple technologies to provide very specific information about the molecular and genetic makeup of your tumour. For example, immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a technology used to determine the level of protein expression in a tumour. Another technology, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), is used to examine and detect mutations (changes) in DNA sequences. Some molecular profiling tests may use one, two, or a combination of technologies to uncover information about your cancer.3

  • Immunohistochemistry (IHC):determines level of protein expression
  • Chromogenic/ Fluorescence in situHybridisation (CISH/FISH): detects gene deletions, amplifications, translocations and fusions
  • Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS):rapidly examines and more broadly detects DNA mutations, copy number variations and gene fusions across the genome
  • Sanger Sequencing:examines strands of DNA to identify mutations by analysing long contiguous sequencing reads
  • Pyro Sequencing (PyroSeq):detects and quantifies mutations, methylation, etc. through sequencing by synthesis
  • Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR):amplifies and quantifies a targeted DNA molecule
  • Fragment Analysis (FA/Frag. Analysis):detects changes in DNA or RNA to indicate the presence or absence of genetic marker



  1. Caris Life Sciences. Exploring New Options: What is precision medicine? 2017 [cited 16 July 2017]. Available from: [URL link]
  2. Caris Life Sciences. Steps to Profiling: Understanding the process molecular profiling. 2017 [cited 16 July 2017]. Available from: [URL link]
  3. Caris Life Sciences. Types of molecular profiling: All molecular profiling is not the same. 2017 [cited 16 July 2017]. Available from: [URL link]
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