, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 774-775
Date: 09 Jul 2008

Human Genetic and Structural Genomic Variation: Would Genome-Wide Association Studies Be the Solution for Cancer Complexity Like Alexander the Great for the “Gordian Knot”?

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In 333 BC Alexander the Great tackled the “Gordian Knot” by simply severing it with his sword.

Rapid technological advances with cheaper high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques now allow genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to assess novel gene variants associated with complex diseases, including cancer.1,2 These genetic variants could potentially be used in the clinic for personalized preventive and therapeutic interventions, as a means of personalized medicine.3

This flood of discoveries promises better insight into molecular mechanisms underlying complex diseases, including cancer, particularly with respect to whole-genome analysis, the near completion of the initiative to catalogue the genes involved in breast and colorectal cancer,4 and functional studies for the understanding of the complex network signaling pathways.5

However, all these developments simultaneously reveal how extremely complex cancer is. The new data suggest that tumorigenesis and metastasis are governed by inte ...