Genomic biomarkers can tame the dragon of cancer

Nature Medicine compares the modern quest against cancer with "the battle against the Greek mythological dragon Typhon, who with his 100 heads was nearly impossible to defeat." Authors Ian J. Majewski and Rene Bernards write that, just in the past decade, we now know that tumors that appear similar have very different "driver" mutations that fuel malignant growth and thus will respond to very different types of therapeutic intervention. Part of the solution is to develop biomarkers that reflect the level of activity of cancer-causing signaling pathways.

Signaling pathways in cancer are activated by genomic changes in key components of the pathways. "Genomic technologies that detect these aberrations are therefore prime tools for identifying biomarkers of response to pathway-targeted therapies in cancer," notes the report. "Such drug response biomarkers are urgently needed for the rational selection of patients for these therapies."

- here's the report for more