Background: Although large-scale, next-generation sequencing (NGS) studies of cancers hold promise for enabling precision oncology, challenges remain in integrating NGS with clinically validated biomarkers. Methods: To overcome such challenges, we utilized the Database of Evidence for Precision Oncology (DEPO) to link druggability to genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic biomarkers. Using a pan-cancer cohort of 6570 tumors, we identified tumors with potentially druggable biomarkers consisting of drug-associated mutations, mRNA expression outliers, and protein/phosphoprotein expression outliers identified by DEPO. Results: Within the pan-cancer cohort of 6570 tumors, we found that 3% are druggable based on FDA-approved drug-mutation interactions in specific cancer types. However, mRNA/phosphoprotein/protein expression outliers and drug repurposing across cancer types suggest potential druggability in up to 16% of tumors. The percentage of potential drug-associated tumors can increase to 48% if we consider preclinical evidence. Further, our analyses showed co-occurring potentially druggable multi-omics alterations in 32% of tumors, indicating a role for individualized combinational therapy, with evidence supporting mTOR/PI3K/ESR1 co-inhibition and BRAF/AKT co-inhibition in 1.6 and 0.8% of tumors, respectively. We experimentally validated a subset of putative druggable mutations in BRAF identified by a protein structure-based computational tool. Finally, analysis of a large-scale drug screening dataset lent further evidence supporting repurposing of drugs across cancer types and the use of expression outliers for inferring druggability. Conclusions: Our results suggest that an integrated analysis platform can nominate multi-omics alterations as biomarkers of druggability and aid ongoing efforts to bring precision oncology to patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
JournalGenome medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 27 2018


  • Cancer and druggability
  • Cancer genomics
  • Multi-omics
  • Precision medicine
  • Proteogenomics


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