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Published in 2017 - Ann Oncol (2017) doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdx707. 

Authors: L. R. Yates, J. Seoane, C. Le Tourneau, L.L. Siu, R. Marais, S. Michiels, J.C. Soria, P. Campbell, N. Normanno, A. Scarpa, J.S. Reis-Filho, J. Rodon, C. Swanton, F. Andre

Precision medicine is rapidly evolving within the field of oncology and has brought many new concepts and terminologies that are often poorly defined when first introduced, which may subsequently lead to miscommunication within the oncology community. To add clarity to the language used by oncologists and basic scientists within the context of precision medicine, the ESMO has developed a standardised glossary of relevant terms.

A total of 43 terms are included in the glossary, grouped into five main themes – (i) mechanisms of decision, (ii) characteristics of molecular alterations, (iii) tumour characteristics, (iv) clinical trials and statistics and (v) new research tools.

The glossary classes ‘precision medicine’ or ‘personalised medicine’ as technically interchangeable but the term ‘precision medicine’ is favoured as it more accurately reflects the highly precise nature of new technologies that permit base pair resolution dissection of cancer genomes and is less likely to be misinterpreted.

The ESMO Precision Medicine Glossary provides a resource to facilitate consistent communication in this field by clarifying and raising awareness of the language employed in cancer research and oncology practice. The glossary will be a dynamic entity, undergoing expansion and refinement over the coming years.

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