Q: What reveals the uniqueness of each person’s cancer?

A: Biomarkers

Immuno-Oncology (I-O) is the cutting edge of cancer research. It looks for ways to help the body’s immune system fight cancer. Learning about biomarkers—the individual characteristics of each person’s cancer—is central to this research.

Learning what makes a tumor unique by revealing its biomarkers may help researchers and healthcare professionals choose personalized treatments that are more likely to work for patients.

What is a biomarker?

“Bio” refers to something in the body, and marker refers to something that can be identified or measured through testing.

There are various types of biomarkers for cancer, including genes and proteins

To help explain, think of different biomarkers as different shapes. Everyone has different types and amounts of biomarkers in their body.

As shown in the illustration, Alice has a high amount of a specific biomarker that may mean a certain cancer treatment could work better for her than for Jerry.

Why are biomarkers tested in cancer?

Biomarkers are tested for many reasons. Your healthcare team may test different biomarkers, depending on your cancer type, and what information they need.

One reason that biomarkers may be tested is to help predict cancer treatment options that may be more likely to work for you.

Click on the screen below to learn about other reasons to test for biomarkers:

I‑O in Your Body

Learn how immunotherapies can work alone, together, or in combination with other treatments to fight cancer.