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We propose that the quantitative cancer biology community makes a concerted effort to apply lessons from weather forecasting to develop an analogous methodology for predicting and evaluating tumor growth and treatment response. Currently, the time course of tumor response is not predicted; instead, response is only assessed post hoc by physical examination or imaging methods. This fundamental practice within clinical oncology limits optimization of a treatment regimen for an individual patient, as well as to determine in real time whether the choice was in fact appropriate. This is especially frustrating at a time when a panoply of molecularly targeted therapies is available, and precision genetic or proteomic analyses of tumors are an established reality. By learning from the methods of weather and climate modeling, we submit that the forecasting power of biophysical and biomathematical modeling can be harnessed to hasten the arrival of a field of predictive oncology. With a successful methodology toward tumor forecasting, it should be possible to integrate large tumor-specific datasets of varied types and effectively defeat one cancer patient at a time.
©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.