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Precision Medicine and the Role of Biomarkers of Radiotherapy Response in Breast Cancer

Meehan, James; Gray, Mark; Mart�nez-P�rez, Carlos; Kay, Charlene; Pang, Lisa Y.; Fraser, Jennifer A.; Poole, Amy V.; Kunkler, Ian H.; Langdon, Simon P.; Argyle, David; Turnbull, Arran K.


James Meehan

Mark Gray

Carlos Mart�nez-P�rez

Charlene Kay

Lisa Y. Pang

Jennifer A. Fraser

Ian H. Kunkler

Simon P. Langdon

David Argyle

Arran K. Turnbull


Radiotherapy remains an important treatment modality in nearly two thirds of all cancers, including the primary curative or palliative treatment of breast cancer. Unfortunately, largely due to tumor heterogeneity, tumor radiotherapy response rates can vary significantly, even between patients diagnosed with the same tumor type. Although in recent years significant technological advances have been made in the way radiation can be precisely delivered to tumors, it is proving more difficult to personalize radiotherapy
regimens based on cancer biology. Biomarkers that provide prognostic or predictive information regarding a tumor’s intrinsic radiosensitivity or its response to treatment could
prove valuable in helping to personalize radiation dosing, enabling clinicians to make decisions between different treatment options whilst avoiding radiation-induced toxicity in patients unlikely to gain therapeutic benefit. Studies have investigated numerous ways
in which both patient and tumor radiosensitivities can be assessed. Tumor molecular profiling has been used to develop radiosensitivity gene signatures, while the assessment of specific intracellular or secreted proteins, including circulating tumor cells, exosomes and DNA, has been performed to identify prognostic or predictive biomarkers of radiation response. Finally, the investigation of biomarkers related to radiation-induced toxicity could provide another means by which radiotherapy could become personalized. In this review, we discuss studies that have used these methods to identify or develop prognostic/predictive signatures of radiosensitivity, and how such assays could be used in the future as a means of providing personalized radiotherapy.


Meehan, J., Gray, M., Martínez-Pérez, C., Kay, C., Pang, L. Y., Fraser, J. A., Poole, A. V., Kunkler, I. H., Langdon, S. P., Argyle, D., & Turnbull, A. K. (2020). Precision Medicine and the Role of Biomarkers of Radiotherapy Response in Breast Cancer. Frontiers in Oncology, 10,

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Apr 6, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 24, 2020
Publication Date 2020-04
Deposit Date Apr 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 24, 2020
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Keywords biomarkers of radiosensitivity, breast cancer, precision medicine, molecular signatures of radiosensitivity, biomarkers of radiation-induced toxicity
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Precision Medicine And The Role Of Biomarkers Of Radiotherapy Response In Breast Cancer (1.1 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2020 Meehan, Gray, Martínez-Pérez, Kay, Pang, Fraser, Poole, Kunkler, Langdon, Argyle and Turnbull. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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