Toxicity and Pharmacogenomic Biomarkers in Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

Zeina N. Al-Mahayri, George P. Patrinos, Bassam R. Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most prevalent types of cancer worldwide with high morbidity and mortality rates. Treatment modalities include systemic therapy, in which chemotherapy is a major component in many cases. Several chemotherapeutic agents are used in combinations or as single agents with many adverse events occurring in variable frequencies. These events can be a significant barrier in completing the treatment regimens. Germline genomic variants are thought of as potential determinants in chemotherapy response and the development of side effects. Some pharmacogenomic studies were designed to explore germline variants that can be used as biomarkers for predicting developing toxicity or adverse events during chemotherapy in BC. In this review, we reassess and summarize the major findings of pharmacogenomic studies of chemotherapy toxicity during BC management. In addition, deficiencies hampering utilizing these findings and the potential targets of future research are emphasized. Main insufficiencies in toxicity pharmacogenomics studies originate from study design, sample limitations, heterogeneity of selected genes, variants, and toxicity definitions. With the advent of high throughput genotyping techniques, researchers are expected to explore the identified as well as the potential genetic biomarkers of toxicity and efficacy to improve BC management. However, to achieve this, the limitations of previous work should be evaluated and avoided to reach more conclusive and translatable evidence for personalizing BC chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number445
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2020


  • breast cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • pharmacogenomics
  • side effects
  • toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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