Research Topic

Cancer Treatment in the Genomic Era: Challenges and Opportunities

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In 1933, the Union for International Cancer control was founded in Geneva, Switzerland. Nearly forty years later, the War on Cancer Act was initiated in US in 1971. Till today, we have made fabulous achievements in this war against cancer. Cancer death rates, particularly from lung cancer, prostate cancer and ...

In 1933, the Union for International Cancer control was founded in Geneva, Switzerland. Nearly forty years later, the War on Cancer Act was initiated in US in 1971. Till today, we have made fabulous achievements in this war against cancer. Cancer death rates, particularly from lung cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer, have significantly declined. With the rapid development of early detection techniques and improved treatment, the survivor population has significantly grown over the past decades.
Since next generation sequencing became commercially available in 2005, it has become feasible to interpret or diagnose cancer with a comprehensive genetic view. The whole exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing can reveal the cancer-related genetic abnormalities from a genomic level. But, although massive sequencing provides a method to uncover the sequence changes of cancer genomics, interpreting the sequence changes remains a challenge. Also, as one important feature of cancer is its heterogeneity, it is difficult to catch the mutations with low allele frequency in the context of a complex tumor genome. Along with the intertumoral heterogeneity, it poses a big challenge to define a DNA-change-targeted diagnosis or treatment.
Precision medicine was initiated to diagnose or treat the disease based on that individual patient’s genetic information. The mission of precision medicine in oncology will be tailored to the changes in each different individual’s cancer. There is still a long way to go to achieve this goal. Till today, scientists have not yet discovered all the DNA changes that cause cancer to develop and metastasize. Even though new drugs are consistently coming on the market, most patients still cannot be treated with mutation targeted drugs.

This goal of this Research Topic is to discuss cutting-edge projects that investigate the genomics findings related to carcinogenesis and cancer treatment. In this Research Topic, we welcome Original Research papers, Reviews, or Case Reports.

​Topic Editor Fan Xia is the senior director of clinical genomics at Baylor Genetics. The rest of Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic.


Keywords: Next generation sequencing, Cancer treatment, Cancer genomics, Precision medicine


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