How to read a next-generation sequencing report-what oncologists need to know.

Journal Paper/Review - Sep 29, 2022


Schmid S, Jochum W, Padberg B, Demmer I, Mertz K, Joerger M, Britschgi C, Matter M, Rothschild S, Omlin A. How to read a next-generation sequencing report-what oncologists need to know. ESMO Open 2022; 7:100570.
Journal Paper/Review (English)
ESMO Open 2022; 7
Publication Date
Sep 29, 2022
Issn Electronic
Brief description/objective

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of tumor cell-derived DNA/RNA to screen for targetable genomic alterations is now widely available and has become part of routine practice in oncology. NGS testing strategies depend on cancer type, disease stage and the impact of results on treatment selection. The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has recently published recommendations for the use of NGS in patients with advanced cancer. We complement the ESMO recommendations with a practical review of how oncologists should read and interpret NGS reports. A concise and straightforward NGS report contains details of the tumor sample, the technology used and highlights not only the most important and potentially actionable results, but also other pathogenic alterations detected. Variants of unknown significance should also be listed. Interpretation of NGS reports should be a joint effort between molecular pathologists, tumor biologists and clinicians. Rather than relying and acting on the information provided by the NGS report, oncologists need to obtain a basic level of understanding to read and interpret NGS results. Comprehensive annotated databases are available for clinicians to review the information detailed in the NGS report. Molecular tumor boards do not only stimulate debate and exchange, but may also help to interpret challenging reports and to ensure continuing medical education.