Over the past decade, comprehensive sequencing efforts have revealed the genomic landscapes of common forms of human cancer.
For most cancer types, this landscape consists of a small number of “mountains” (genes altered in a high percentage of tumors)
and a much larger number of “hills” (genes altered infrequently). To date, these studies have revealed ~140 genes that, when
altered by intragenic mutations, can promote or “drive” tumorigenesis. A typical tumor contains two to eight of these “driver
gene” mutations; the remaining mutations are passengers that confer no selective growth advantage. Driver genes can be classified
into 12 signaling pathways that regulate three core cellular processes: cell fate, cell survival, and genome maintenance.
A better understanding of these pathways is one of the most pressing needs in basic cancer research. Even now, however, our
knowledge of cancer genomes is sufficient to guide the development of more effective approaches for reducing cancer morbidity