August 30, 2023

Advancing Precision Oncology: New Ways of Guiding Personalized Cancer Care

We are at a major turning point in the field of cancer care – with programs like Cancer Moonshot, new advances in precision medicine, more sophisticated diagnostic tools, and the use of AI, we will start to see greater progress in the way that cancer is diagnosed and treated. Today’s oncologist has access to highly effective therapies that directly target cancer cells while sparing healthy ones. The therapy selection process is a critical step for doctors, especially when treating patients with advanced cancer.

Modern cancer care focuses on developing a personalized treatment plan that precisely matches a patient’s unique cancer to an appropriate, targeted therapy or clinical trial.


As we know, precision medicine is only as precise as the tests that help guide treatment decisions. Exact Sciences works to combat cancer by delivering high-quality cancer tests that provide physicians and their patients with the clarity to take life-changing action when making treatment decisions.

Our OncoExTra™ therapy selection test is one of the most comprehensive tests available for all advanced solid tumors. OncoExTra puts new levels of tumor-specific information and insights directly into the hands of oncologists. Its simplified, streamlined report lists the variants and actionable next steps, the therapies available to treat the cancer, and the clinical trials for consideration.

We are proud to announce that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has selected our testing laboratory in Phoenix, AZ to participate in their recently launched ComboMATCH clinical trials, one of the NCI-funded precision medicine initiatives. The ComboMATCH registration trial serves as a gateway to a set of trials evaluating new anti-cancer treatment combinations in patients with locally advanced or metastatic cancer. As part of the trials, we will use the OncoExTra test to analyze tumor tissue and paired normal blood samples from patient participants to provide the most informed picture of a patient’s individual tumor biology. Exact Sciences’ participation in ComboMATCH reinforces our commitment to enable the delivery of personalized cancer care.


Exact Sciences is one of the few companies to develop a test that profiles the entire exome and the transcriptome across approximately 20,000 genes. Using next-generation sequencing (NGS), the OncoExTra test evaluates the tumor’s DNA and RNA, providing actionable information to help guide treatment decisions and uncover variants that may be missed when evaluating DNA alone. The OncoExTra test analyzes all of the genes that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network®(NCCN®) recommends for testing solid tumors. It also provides doctors the option to order immunohistochemical (IHC) panels and individual IHC assays concurrently and from one lab. This provides the most extensive profile of their patient’s tumor for use now and in the future, which is critically important as targeted therapy development advances and access improves.

A large proportion of labs approach testing by interrogating the DNA only, which almost always involves sequencing only the patient’s tumor tissue, with no analysis of a matched sample of their normal inherited DNA. A tumor-only approach may identify changes in the patient’s normal DNA, which may turn out benign and not to be the true driver of the patient’s disease. These potential false positives present serious challenges because they are not viable targets for precision medicine and could lead to cancer treatments being administered unnecessarily, potentially risking a patient’s health.

With matched tumor-normal sequencing, the OncoExTra test assesses the patient’s unique normal DNA, limiting false positives and allowing physicians to make decisions based on the patient’s tumor-specific variants — those responsible for driving the development and growth of their cancer cells.

At Exact Sciences, we make it our life’s work to provide cancer screening and diagnostic tests to support physicians treating patients across all stages of disease, from the initial diagnosis to advanced cancer. As the leading pioneer in cancer testing, we enable seamless clinical decision-making as a trusted partner to physicians in addressing all their testing needs. Our work today is transforming the way cancer will be treated in the future — over the next 25 years and beyond.