Over the past few years, medical professionals have developed a wide but varied vocabulary for the burgeoning concepts within the field of precision medicine. ESMO, a large professional organization representing medical oncology practitioners and researchers from 150 countries, has taken on the task of standardizing these new terms in order to improve communication between researchers across the globe. According to Lucy Yates, PhD, first author of the paper, “ESMO already [provides] the Glossaries in Molecular Biology of Cancer and Molecular Techniques,” that cover the vast majority of technical parlance in those areas.

In contrast, the ESMO Precision Medicine Glossary is not a comprehensive list of all terminology used in the precision medicine arena, but rather a list of concepts deemed confusing by the portion of their 17,000 members surveyed. The terms in question were separated into five categories (mechanisms of decision, characteristics of molecular alterations, clinical trials and statistics, new research tools, and tumor characteristics) and defined by a consensus of experts in the field.