Cancer heterogeneity: Implications for targeted therapeutics

1] University College London Cancer Institute, London, UK [2] Department of Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital, London UK.
British Journal of Cancer (Impact Factor: 4.84). 01/2013; 108(3). DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2012.581
Source: PubMed


Developments in genomic techniques have provided insight into the remarkable genetic complexity of malignant tumours. There is increasing evidence that solid tumours may comprise of subpopulations of cells with distinct genomic alterations within the same tumour, a phenomenon termed intra-tumour heterogeneity. Intra-tumour heterogeneity is likely to have implications for cancer therapeutics and biomarker discovery, particularly in the era of targeted treatment, and evidence for a relationship between intra-tumoural heterogeneity and clinical outcome is emerging. Our understanding of the processes that exacerbate intra-tumoural heterogeneity, both iatrogenic and tumour specific, is likely to increase with the development and more widespread implementation of advanced sequencing technologies, and adaptation of clinical trial design to include comprehensive tissue collection protocols. The current evidence for intra-tumour heterogeneity and its relevance to cancer therapeutics will be presented in this mini-review.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 8 January 2013; doi:10.1038/bjc.2012.581

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    • "The same applies when disruptive alterations hit on the same gene, e.g., pten's mutations and deletions in prostate cancer [25]. An immediate consequence of this state of affair is the dramatic heterogeneity and temporality of cancer, both at the inter-tumor and at the intra-tumor levels [26]. The former manifests as different patients with the same cancer type can display few common alterations. "
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