TranSYS Training School 23rd November 16.30

Nikolaus Schultz


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Monday 23rd November 2020  16.30 CET

Toward clinical decision support in oncology: Identifying driver alterations and therapeutic options



With prospective clinical sequencing of tumors emerging as a mainstay in cancer care, an urgent need exists for clinical support tools that identify the clinical implications associated with specific mutation events. To this end, we have developed three tools for the interpretation and visualization of cancer variants, enabling researchers and clinicians to make discoveries and treatment decisions: 1) Cancer Hotspots is a method and resource that identifies recurrently mutated amino acids in cancer genes. These variants, so-called hotspots, are more likely to be drivers in cancer. 2) OncoKB is a precision oncology knowledge base that annotates the biologic and oncogenic effects as well as prognostic and predictive significance of somatic molecular alterations. Potential treatment implications are stratified by the level of evidence that a specific molecular alteration is predictive of drug. 3) The cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics is a web-based analysis tool for the visualization and analysis of cancer variants. Through its intuitive interface it makes complex cancer genomics data easily accessible by researchers and clinicians without bioinformatics experience. It integrates information from Cancer Hotspots and OncoKB to enable the identification of potential driver mutations and therapeutic options. These resources are used routinely at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in clinical sequencing, with more than 60,000 tumor samples sequenced to date.

 Key references:

Chakravarty D, Gao J, Phillips SM, Kundra R, Zhang H, …, Schultz N. OncoKB: A Precision Oncology Knowledge Base. JCO Precis Oncol. 2017 Jul;2017. doi: 10.1200/PO.17.00011.

Chang MT, Asthana S, …, Schultz N, Taylor BS. Identifying recurrent mutations in cancer reveals widespread lineage diversity and mutational specificity. Nat Biotechnol. 2016 Feb;34(2):155-63.

Cerami E, Gao J, Dogrusoz U, Gross BE, …, Schultz N. The cBio Cancer Genomics Portal: An Open Platform for Exploring Multidimensional Cancer Genomics Data. Cancer Discov. 2012 May;2(5):401-4.


Nikolaus Schultz, PhD is an Attending Computational Oncologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and an Affiliate Member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Dr. Schultz also serves as Head of Knowledge Systems in the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology.

Dr. Schultz was originally trained as a biochemist and molecular biologist (PhD, Freie Universitat Berlin, 2004). Since his postdoc in the Computational Biology Department at MSK (2004 – 2008), he has transitioned towards bioinformatics and computational biology. He has been a faculty member at MSK since 2013, and he is a Professor in the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences