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HARPOON: First DKTK Workshop on Harmonization of Molecular Tumor Boards

HARPOON (HArmonization of Reporting in PrecisiOn Oncology), the first DKTK workshop on harmonization of molecular tumor boards, took place on July 9 and 10. More than 130 physicians and scientists from 20 cancer centers across Germany – including all DKTK partner sites and several Comprehensive Cancer Centers and non-university institutions – came together virtually to exchange information on the clinical evaluation of molecular cancer profiles.

While precision oncology has become an essential part of everyday clinical practice in recent years, the results of comprehensive molecular analyses are complex, and the field of molecularly informed treatment of cancer patients is highly dynamic with the effect that established guidelines do not yet cover the therapeutic relevance of many potentially targetable alterations. Besides practical information on how to interpret and prioritize genetic variants for molecular tumor board reporting, HARPOON provided a platform for networking and exchange of expertise between the key players of molecular tumor boards in Germany, thus promoting the standardization and harmonization of the evaluation and presentation of relevant findings.

In the first session, 18 centers presented their molecular tumor boards, some organized across centers, in highly interesting flash talks. Subsequently, Peter Horak (Heidelberg), Christian Brandts (Frankfurt), and Lena Illert (Freiburg) presented the strategies pursued by the precision oncology networks DKTK MASTER, nNGM (National Network Genomic Medicine Lung Cancer) and ZPM (Center for Personalized Medicine Baden-Württemberg) to achieve harmonized variant interpretation and clinical classification, in a session moderated by Wilko Weichert (Munich). The evaluation of germline variants in molecular tumor boards was very clearly illustrated by Evelin Schröck (Dresden), Christian Schaaf (Heidelberg), and their teams using case studies, followed by a lively discussion led by Ulrich Keilholz (Berlin).

As an introduction to the practical part of the workshop, Veronica Teleanu, Peter Horak, and Simon Kreutzfeldt (Heidelberg) used an interactive session to highlight the strategy established in the DKTK MASTER program for interpreting, prioritizing, and presenting variants with the aid of publications, databases, study results, and other tools. To close the second day, many participants took the opportunity to attend the cross-institutional molecular tumor board of the DKTK MASTER program.

HARPOON is entering its second round: In the fall, round tables are planned, during which the molecular profiles of exemplary patient cases will be interpreted in an interactive format, and common standards will be developed. Due to the great interest, the consistently high number of participants during the workshop, and the overwhelmingly positive feedback afterward, HARPOON will be developed into a regular format to account for the rapid development in the field of molecularly guided precision oncology.