Who's driving anyway? Herculean efforts to identify the drivers of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res. 2012 Oct 31;14(5):323. doi: 10.1186/bcr3325.


The continuing advancement of sequencing technologies has made the systematic identification of all driving somatic events in cancer a possibility. In the June 2012 issue of Nature, five papers show some significant headway in this endeavor, each a herculean effort of genome sequencing, and transcriptome and copy number analysis resulting in data on thousands of breast cancers. Integrating these massive datasets, the authors were able to further subdivide breast cancer and identify a number of novel driver genes. While the studies represent a leap forward in describing the genomics of breast cancer, and clearly highlight the tremendous diversity between tumors, the studies only scrape the surface of molecular changes in breast tumors, with more granularity to come from the study of epigenomics, single cell sequencing, and so on. The immediate importance of the data to clinical care is currently unknown, and will depend upon detailed identification and functional analysis of driver mutations.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Aromatase / metabolism*
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • DNA Copy Number Variations / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mutagenesis / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Oncogenes / genetics*
  • Translocation, Genetic / genetics*


  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Aromatase