Research in oncology has been significantly boosted by the advancement of technology, especially in the area of molecular biomarkers. These markers play a crucial role in the identification, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Biomarkers help understand the causes, diagnosis, progression, regression or treatment outcome of a disease. These are objective characteristics of the human body (not symptoms reported by the patient), which can be measured, and which help to:

  • Monitor patient health
  • Make diagnoses
  • Identify the progression of a disease
  • Identify the risk of developing a certain disease
  • Monitor the effects of treatments
  • Know if a person may react badly to certain treatments
  • Know the probability of cancer coming back

Ideally, biomarkers should be easily accessible, reproducible and measurable in biological samples, such as blood, urine, saliva or tissue fragments (obtained through biopsy or surgery). Furthermore, they must be highly specific and sensitive to allow rapid detection of diseases.

Molecular biomarkers refer to biological molecules that indicate the presence or progress of a specific condition, such as cancer. These may include genes, proteins or other substances that are detected using advanced techniques such as genomic and proteomic analysis.

One of the most notable benefits of molecular biomarkers is the ability for more accurate diagnosis. Instead of relying solely on traditional methods such as imaging tests, doctors can now analyze the molecular profile of a tumour, allowing for a more specific and personalised diagnosis.

In addition to diagnosis, molecular biomarkers also play a vital role in predicting response to treatment. Identifying markers that indicate a patient’s likelihood of responding to a specific therapy allows for a more targeted approach, reducing side effects and increasing treatment effectiveness.

Monitoring disease progression is essential in the treatment of tumours. Molecular biomarkers offer a dynamic way to monitor response to treatment and identify any signs of recurrence early. This allows for quick adjustments to the treatment plan, increasing the chances of success.

Molecular biomarkers are transforming the oncology landscape, providing a more precise, personalised and effective approach to diagnosing and treating cancer. As research advances, it is expected that these markers will continue to play a key role in early detection, treatment tracking, and overall improvement of outcomes for oncology patients.

Despite advances, molecular biomarker research faces significant challenges, such as tumour heterogeneity and genetic variability between patients. However, the rapid development of innovative technologies and approaches offers hope for overcoming these obstacles.

Knowing your biomarker status may help you and your doctor decide on the most effective treatment plan for you. It may also help avoid treatments that may not work for your type of cancer. Not every type of cancer can be tested for biomarkers, but this may change as scientists study biomarkers for different cancer types.

For more information please contact Grupo HPA Saude on (351) 282 420 400.