Course Description

Tumor Molecular Profiling gives an overview of the genomic landscape of tumors and how that information is being used to tailor treatments and manage patients.

We'll cover the molecular basis of cancer, technological and therapeutic advances, and how genetic testing is being used across the cancer clinical spectrum.

Who should take this course

Tumor Molecular Profiling was designed to educate lay professional audiences working in both clinical and non-clinical settings. This course is for:

  • Physicians, nurses and other health care providers in oncology
  • Tool and test developers in the genomics space
  • Health information, software and other technology companies
  • Insurance companies who want to understand how to value tumor profiling tests

What you’ll get from the course 

This course consists of: 

  • Six short didactic videos (total watch time ~45 minutes)
  • An active discussion forum
  • Enduring materials (slides to download)

Please note: We recommend that students taking the Tumor Molecular Profiling course have a basic understanding of human genetics before enrolling. If you don’t have a background in genetics – or if you want a quick refresher -  consider taking our free online course: PM101: Human Genomics (~30 min)

What You'll Learn 

Cancer Genomes   

What is cancer; mutational landscape of tumors; cancer driver genes; somatic vs germline variation in cancer.

Targeted Cancer Treatment 

Targeted treatments and companion diagnostics; tissue agnostic treatments; indications; expanded treatment options; barriers to clinical trials.

Tumor Molecular Profiling and its Technical Challenges 

Panel sizes; Tumor heterogeneity; discerning somatic vs. germline. 


Immune system in cancer; checkpoint inhibitors, cancer vaccines, CAR-T cell therapy, immunotherapy diagnostics.

Liquid Biopsies

Circulating tumor DNA by stage and type of cancer; commercial landscape.

Clinical Applications of Cancer Genetics

Predisposition testing; screening/early diagnosis; prognosis; treatment selection/efficacy; disease monitoring.

The information provided through this course is for educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition. 

All materials are copyrighted. Republication or redistribution of PMA content is prohibited without prior written consent. PMA shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.



Founder, Precision Medicine Advisors

Jeanette McCarthy, PhD

Jeanette McCarthy is a genome scientist and leading educator in the field of precision medicine. She spent the early part of her career in industry at Millennium Pharmaceuticals before transitioning to academia. She currently holds adjunct faculty positions at Duke University and UCSF and teaches Genomic and Precision Medicine in the UC system and online.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Video lessons

    • 1. Cancer genomes (7 min)

    • 2. Targeted Cancer Treatment (11 min)

    • 3. Tumor Molecular Profiling and its Technical Challenges (9 min)

    • 4. Immunotherapy (7 min)

    • 5. Liquid Biopsies (3 min)

    • 6. Clinical Applications of Cancer Genetics (9 min)

  • 2

    Discussion forum

    • Tell us about yourself