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Over the past 20 years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of biomarkers. At the last count, there were 768,259 papers indexed in PubMed.gov directly related to biomarkers. Although many of these papers claim to report clinically useful molecular biomarkers, embarrassingly few are currently in clinical use. It is suggested that a failure to properly understand, clinically assess, and utilize molecular biomarkers has prevented their widespread adoption in treatment, in comparative benefit analyses, and their integration into individualized patient outcome predictions for clinical decision-making and therapy. A straightforward, general approach to understanding how to predict clinical outcomes using risk, diagnostic, and prognostic molecular biomarkers is presented. In the future, molecular biomarkers will drive advances in risk, diagnosis, and prognosis, they will be the targets of powerful molecular therapies, and they will individualize and optimize therapy. Furthermore, clinical predictions based on molecular biomarkers will be displayed on the clinician’s screen during the physician–patient interaction, they will be an integral part of physician–patient-shared decision-making, and they will improve clinical care and patient outcomes.
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