The Emerging Potential for Network Analysis to Inform Precision Cancer Medicine

J Mol Biol. 2018 Sep 14;430(18 Pt A):2875-2899. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2018.06.016. Epub 2018 Jun 15.


Precision cancer medicine promises to tailor clinical decisions to patients using genomic information. Indeed, successes of drugs targeting genetic alterations in tumors, such as imatinib that targets BCR-ABL in chronic myelogenous leukemia, have demonstrated the power of this approach. However, biological systems are complex, and patients may differ not only by the specific genetic alterations in their tumor, but also by more subtle interactions among such alterations. Systems biology and more specifically, network analysis, provides a framework for advancing precision medicine beyond clinical actionability of individual mutations. Here we discuss applications of network analysis to study tumor biology, early methods for N-of-1 tumor genome analysis, and the path for such tools to the clinic.

Keywords: cancer systems biology; network analysis; precision cancer medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Genomics / methods
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / standards
  • Medical Oncology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Precision Medicine / standards
  • Precision Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prognosis
  • Systems Biology