The power of NGS technologies to delineate the genome organization in cancer: from mutations to structural variations and epigenetic alterations
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- Schweiger, M.R., Kerick, M., Timmermann, B. et al. Cancer Metastasis Rev (2011) 30: 199. doi:10.1007/s10555-011-9278-z
The development of cancer is characterized by the joined occurrence of alterations on different levels—from single nucleotide changes via structural and copy number variations to epigenetic alterations. With the advent of advanced technologies such as next generation sequencing, we have now the tools in hands to put some light on complex processes and recognize systematic patterns that develop throughout cancer progression. The combination of single hypothesis-driven experiments with a system-wide genetic view enables us to prove so far not addressable questions such as the influence of DNA methylation on gene expression or the disruption of genome homeostasis by structural variations and miRNA expression patterns. Out of this enormous amount of information, specific biomarkers for cancer progression have been discovered, which pave the way for the development of new therapeutic strategies. Here, we will review the status quo of integrative cancer genomic approaches, give an overview over the power of next generation sequencing technologies in oncology, and outline future perspective. Both sides—clinical as well as basic research aspects—will be considered.