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Understanding Cancer Series

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  • Posted: 10/20/2009

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Slide 12

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Can Genome-Wide Profiles Help Diagnose Cancer?

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Yes. Genomic profiles can be used to subclassify certain cancers within pathologically defined groups. These profiles can further differentiate tumors that look similar under the microscope. Gene expression microarrays—the major tool used to measure the genome-wide changes in gene expression—have been used experimentally to subclassify acute myelogenous leukemias and to distinguish Burkitt’s from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. And work is under way to build a genome-based classification system for glioma, the most common type of brain tumor.

Graphic shows two pathology slides that look identical, but when a genome-wide profile is performed, two distinct lymphoma subtypes are seen.