Cancer Genomics Overview
Importance of Cancer Genomics in Precision Cancer Medicine
Genomic information about cancer is leading to better diagnoses and treatment strategies that are tailored to patients’ tumors. Precision medicine is the application of genomic insights to a therapeutic approach adapted specifically for each patient. As a result of research into the genomic changes associated with cancer, drugs have been developed to fight the disease in several ways:
- Targeting enzymes that trigger the abnormal growth and survival of cancer cells
- Blocking aberrant gene expression characteristic of cancer cells
- Halting signaling pathways sent incorrectly into overdrive.
- Imatinib (Gleevec) inhibits overactivity of a protein (called tyrosine kinase) in patients whose leukemia is caused by a chromosomal rearrangement.
- Trastuzumab (Herceptin) controls a hyperactive signaling pathway (HER2 tyrosine kinase) caused by multiple copies of the HER2 gene in a subtype of breast cancers.
- Erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa) both restrict activation of a protein (epidermal growth factor, or EGFR), which is abnormally active in a subset of lung cancers due to mutations in the protein.
- NCI's Cancer Genomics Page
Provides information about cancer genomics and the role of NCI in cancer genomics research.
- NCI's Cancer Genetics Page
Provides information about hereditary cancer, genetic tests, and clinical DNA sequencing.
- CDC's Office of Public Health Genomics
Provides information about the public health implications of genomics research.
- My Cancer Genome and Personalized Cancer Therapy
Provides information to clinicians, patients, caregivers, and researchers interested in the most current lists of genetic mutations associated with cancer.