MSK Researchers Develop Targeted Test for Mutations in Both Rare and Common Cancers

Building on our rich history of innovation, genome scientists, bioinformaticians and molecular pathologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have developed a targeted tumor sequencing test, MSK-IMPACT™ (Integrated Mutation Profiling of Actionable Cancer Targets), to detect gene mutations and other critical genetic aberrations in both rare and common cancers. Until now, genomic testing of tumors has been routine practice only for patients with certain solid tumors, such as melanoma, lung, and colon cancer. MSK-IMPACT™ is much more inclusive and can be used on any solid tumor regardless of its origin, potentially offering better treatment options for thousands of patients in the form of precision oncology.

The MSK-IMPACT™ test is currently available for MSK patients only. Patients and their family members can read information and additional details about the MSK-IMPACT™ test, its potential use and appropriateness.


The MSK-IMPACT™ test supports the development of “basket studies,” Phase I clinical trials in which therapies are offered to patients whose tumors test positive for certain mutations regardless of cancer type or location where the cancer originated. An important part of the function of the MSK-IMPACT™ test is gathering data and sharing analyses with the MSK community and greater public. The data gathered are being used to provide smarter cancer therapy. The test results can provide a tremendous amount of molecular information about a patient’s disease, such as insight into what kinds of mutations different tumors have, and how these mutations impact patient responses to various kinds of treatment. Recent research has demonstrated that certain genetic mutations influence the efficacy of cancer drug therapies, and that an effective therapy for one type of cancer may be successful for other types of cancers that share the same gene mutations. Basket studies can include many more people than disease-specific trials. This allows for faster enrollment in the clinical trials and faster analysis of the results, potentially leading to new therapies more quickly.


MSK conducts seminars, workshops and conferences in the fields of cancer care, molecular pathology and tumor biology. The MSK-IMPACT™ research data are used and presented in these public forums to advance medical and scientific education.

MSK-IMPACT™ test results have also been presented at the MSK Center for Mechanism Based Therapy Tumor Board Meetings, in abstracts, talks and in publications and are being used as the basis for new clinical trials.

The ultimate goal of the MSK-IMPACT™ test is to use clinical molecular laboratory testing to improve oncologists’ ability to treat people with solid cancers by giving them a better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of each patient’s illness.