Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(3):626-638. doi:10.7150/ijms.49544 This issue


Insights into the theranostic value of precision medicine on advanced radiotherapy to breast cancer

Man Jiang1,2, Jianshe Yang1✉, Kang Li1, Jia Liu1, Xigang Jing3, Meiqin Tang1,4✉

1. 3 rd Affiliated Hospital of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), Shenzhen 518172, China.
2. Department of Oncology, Longgang District People's Hospital, Shenzhen 518172, China.
3. Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), Wisconsin 53226, USA.
4. Department of Hematology, Longgang District People's Hospital, Shenzhen 518172, China.

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Jiang M, Yang J, Li K, Liu J, Jing X, Tang M. Insights into the theranostic value of precision medicine on advanced radiotherapy to breast cancer. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(3):626-638. doi:10.7150/ijms.49544. Available from

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. “Breast cancer” encompasses a broad spectrum of diseases (i.e., subtypes) with significant epidemiological, clinical, and biological heterogeneity. Each of these subtypes has a different natural history and prognostic profile. Although tumour staging (TNM classification) still provides valuable information in the overall management of breast cancer, the current reality is that clinicians must consider other biological and molecular factors that directly influence treatment decision-making, including extent of surgery, indication for chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and even radiotherapy (and treatment volumes). The management of breast cancer has changed radically in the last 15 years due to significant advances in our understanding of these tumours. While these changes have been extremely positive in terms of surgical and systemic management, they have also created significant uncertainties concerning integration of local and locoregional radiotherapy into the therapeutic scheme. In parallel, radiotherapy itself has also experienced major advances. Beyond the evident technological advances, new radiobiological concepts have emerged, and genomic data and other patient-specific factors must now be integrated into individualized treatment approaches. In this context, “precision medicine” seeks to provide an answer to these open questions and uncertainties. Although precision medicine has been much discussed in the last five years or so, the concept remains somewhat ambiguous, and it often appear to be used as a “catch-all” term. The present review aims to clarify the meaning of this term and, more importantly, to critically evaluate the role and impact of precision medicine on breast cancer radiotherapy. Finally, we will discuss the current and future of precision medicine in radiotherapy.

Keywords: breast cancer, radiotherapy, precision medicine, radiotherapy regime, radiosensitivity