Clinical applications of next generation sequencing in cancer: from panels, to exomes, to genomes

Front Genet. 2015 Jun 17;6:215. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2015.00215. eCollection 2015.


This article will review recent impact of massively parallel next-generation sequencing (NGS) in our understanding and treatment of cancer. While whole exome sequencing (WES) remains popular and effective as a method of genetically profiling different cancers, advances in sequencing technology has enabled an increasing number of whole-genome based studies. Clinically, NGS has been used or is being developed for genetic screening, diagnostics, and clinical assessment. Though challenges remain, clinicians are in the early stages of using genetic data to make treatment decisions for cancer patients. As the integration of NGS in the study and treatment of cancer continues to mature, we believe that the field of cancer genomics will need to move toward more complete 100% genome sequencing. Current technologies and methods are largely limited to coding regions of the genome. A number of recent studies have demonstrated that mutations in non-coding regions may have direct tumorigenic effects or lead to genetic instability. Non-coding regions represent an important frontier in cancer genomics.

Keywords: cancer genomics; clinical genomics; exome sequencing; next-generation sequencing (NGS); non-coding DNA.

Publication types

  • Review