One in three cancer patients carries mutations in the Rat-Sarcoma gene (RAS). Within the EU, an estimated 87/100 000 patients perish from RAS cancers every year. Direct targeting of mutant RAS, though highly desirable therapeutically, has to date been impossible. RAS is a bona-fide oncogene, yet mutant RAS alone is unable to cause cancer; several additional tumor- and patient-intrinsic aberrations are required for cancer development, most of which are ill defined.
This has significant implications: 1) The contribution of individual clinical and molecular variants to cancer pathogenesis, and 2) resulting vulnerabilities shared by different RAS cancers are largely unknown.
A more detailed look is needed to bring individualized medicine to patients: IM.A.RAS, a project aimed at providing a global view on individual RAS cancers. Key elements of this investigation are CoDeS (combined detailed RAS cancer signatures), comprehensive patient maps containing extensive clinical, histological, immunological, and molecular RAS cancer characteristics. These CoDeS are enhanced with big picture, across-all-diseases analyses using established (ontology, pathway, and network analyses) as well as new computational tools (Natural Language Processing). Intra- and inter- patient comparisons are used for predictive and prognostic analytics. Today, omic-scale analytics are affordable and widely used, while computational tools are designed for researchers of all backgrounds.
An augmented analysis of global RAS cancer characteristics is necessary to improve our knowledge of RAS cancer biology, and needed to identify previously undetected, actionable targets along with predictive and prognostic markers.