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A framework to rank genomic alterations as targets for cancer precision medicine: the ESMO Scale for Clinical Actionability of molecular Targets (ESCAT)

Background:

In order to facilitate implementation of precision medicine in clinical management of cancer, there is a need to harmonise and standardise the reporting and interpretation of clinically relevant genomics data.

Methods:

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Translational Research and Precision Medicine Working Group (TR and PM WG) launched a collaborative project to propose a classification system for molecular aberrations based on the evidence available supporting their value as clinical targets. A group of experts from several institutions was assembled to review available evidence, reach a consensus on grading criteria and present a classification system. This was then reviewed, amended and finally approved by the ESMO TR and PM WG and the ESMO leadership.

Results:

This first version of the ESMO Scale of Clinical Actionability for molecular Targets (ESCAT) defines six levels of clinical evidence for molecular targets according to the implications for patient management: tier I, targets ready for implementation in routine clinical decisions; tier II, investigational targets that likely define a patient population that benefits from a targeted drug but additional data are needed; tier III, clinical benefit previously demonstrated in other tumour types or for similar molecular targets; tier IV, preclinical evidence of actionability; tier V, evidence supporting co-targeting approaches; and tier X, lack of evidence for actionability.

Conclusions:

The ESCAT defines clinical evidence-based criteria to prioritise genomic alterations as markers to select patients for targeted therapies. This classification system aims to offer a common language for all the relevant stakeholders in cancer medicine and drug development.


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