, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 343-344
Date: 20 Oct 2009

Limitations of Isolated Tumor Cells in Gastric Cancer: Heterogeneity Requests Systems Biology Approaches Towards Personalized Medicine

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To the Editors:

Cancer is a highly complex and heterogeneous disease. Conventional comparative effectiveness research (CER) and conventional tumor–node–metastasis (TNM) staging have clear limitations. Exploring complex biologic cancer networks based on systems biology and high-throughput technologies advances presents excellent perspectives. Perhaps attention and large research funding towards personalized cancer may lead to faster and more effective management of cancer than the currently recommended CER.13

Most recent extensive genetic studies published in Science have analyzed approximately 20,000 protein-coding genes in cancer. They found a large number of genetic alterations, ranging between 63 and 100 alterations for some common cancers.4 Using modern high-throughput technologies, Jones et al. found a mean number of 12 signaling pathways dysregulated in pancreatic cancer.4 These data and challenges in understanding networks of complex intracellular signaling pathways reveal how ex ...