Precision medicine is modernizing strategies for clinical study design to help improve diagnoses guiding individualized treatment based on genetic or phenotypic characteristics that discriminate between patients with similar clinical presentations. Methodology to personalize treatment choices is being increasingly employed in clinical trials, yielding favorable correlations with improved response rates and survival. In patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), disease characteristics and outcomes may vary widely, underscoring the importance of patient classification through identification of sensitive prognostic features. The discovery of distinct DLBCL molecular subtypes based on cell of origin (COO) is redefining the prognosis and treatment of this heterogeneous cancer. Owing to significant molecular and clinical differences between activated B-cell-like (ABC)- and germinal center B-cell-like (GCB)-DLBCL subtypes, COO identification offers opportunities to optimize treatment selection. Widespread adoption of COO classification would greatly improve treatment and prognosis; however, limitations in interlaboratory concordance between immunohistochemistry techniques, cost, and availability of gene expression profiling tools undermine universal integration in the clinical setting. With advanced methodology to determine COO in a real-world clinical setting, therapies targeted to specific subtypes are under development. The focus here is to review applications of precision medicine exemplified by COO determination in DLBCL patients.
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