A Daunting Challenge
A comprehensive analysis of the cancer genome remains a daunting challenge. There is no single technology at present that will detect all the types of abnormality--deletions, rearrangements, point mutations, frameshift insertions, amplifications, imprinting, and epigenetic changes--implicated in cancer. Microarrays and gene chip analysis, however, are beginning to unveil some key genomic drivers. (Please see Molecular Diagnostics for more information.)
Many clinical trials now include genomic profiles of cancer patients as prognostic and diagnostic indicators. Genomic profiles are even used to monitor where and how the cancer genome has been hit during molecularly targeted therapies. Mining and sharing all this data should eventually help oncologists to better integrate the genotypic and phenotypic changes that occur in a biosystem during cancer's progression. This knowledge will be used to bring earlier and better interventions to cancer patients.