It is amazing the progress that is being made in fighting cancer! We have more options available now than in any other time in history—which means better outcomes for patients!

Did you know that your genes can determine how you will respond to many medications? It’s called pharmacogenomics (PGx), and it’s one of my areas of specialty as a board-certified oncology pharmacist who also owns a business doing consulting in PGx.

Each of us is unique! Did you know that the genetic material for humans is >99% similar from person-to-person? It’s these <1% differences which account for the beautiful diversity we observe among us. There is a subgroup of genes called “pharmacogenes” that are the genes which have been identified as involved with how our bodies processes many medications.

There are many medications used by patients fighting endometrial cancer that are affected by their genetic features. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and supportive therapy can all potentially be affected by unique changes in your DNA.

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. The way the chemotherapy is given, and the actual types of drugs chosen depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated in each patient.1 Genes have been identified which correlate with both drug effectiveness as well as drug side effects.

Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. Some hormones can cause cancer to grow, so by blocking them, we can treat the cancer.

Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells. There are several different classes of drugs that fall into this category of endometrial cancer treatment– monoclonal antibodies, mTOR inhibitors and signal transduction inhibitors are three types that are routinely used.

In addition to the cancer treatments above, many supportive therapies used to help endometrial cancer patients along their journey can be affected by changes in a patient’s DNA. Commonly used medications, such as pain medication, sleep aids, antidepressants, anxiety medicine, nausea medicine, as well as many medicines used to treat other coexisting chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and gastrointestinal problems can also be greatly affected by your genetic features!

In addition to all these amazing treatment options, new options are always being studied in clinical trials! We are in an era of personalized medicine, and it is a giant step forward for patients!

For more information about PGx, including YouTube videos, other blog posts about PGx, and many more resources, you can visit my website.2