The future of clinical cancer genomics

Semin Oncol. 2016 Oct;43(5):615-622. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Oct 18.


The current and future applications of genomics to the practice of preventive oncology are being impacted by a number of challenges. These include rapid advances in genomic science and technology that allow massively parallel sequencing of both tumors and the germline, a diminishing of intellectual property restrictions on diagnostic genetic applications, rapid expansion of access to the internet which includes mobile access to both genomic data and tools to communicate and interpret genetic data in a medical context, the expansion of for-profit diagnostic companies seeking to monetize genetic information, and a simultaneous effort to depict medical professionals as barriers to rather than facilitators of understanding one's genome. Addressing each of these issues will be required to bring "personalized" germline genomics to cancer prevention and care. A profound future challenge will be whether clinical cancer genomics will be "de-medicalized" by commercial interests and their advocates, or whether the future course of this field can be modulated in a responsible way that protects the public health while implementing powerful new medical tools for cancer prevention and early detection.

Keywords: Cancer; Genomics; Inherited.

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Testing
  • Genomics*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA