An improved understanding of cancer genomics through massively parallel sequencing

Jamie K. Teer


DNA sequencing technology advances have enabled genetic investigation of more samples in a shorter time than has previously been possible. Furthermore, the ability to analyze and understand large sequencing datasets has improved due to concurrent advances in sequence data analysis methods and software tools. Constant improvements to both technology and analytic approaches in this fast moving field are evidenced by many recent publications of computational methods, as well as biological results linking genetic events to human disease. Cancer in particular has been the subject of intense investigation, owing to the genetic underpinnings of this complex collection of diseases. New massively-parallel sequencing (MPS) technologies have enabled the investigation of thousands of samples, divided across tens of different tumor types, resulting in new driver gene identification, mutagenic pattern characterization, and other newly uncovered features of tumor biology. This review will focus both on methods and recent results: current analytical approaches to DNA and RNA sequencing will be presented followed by a review of recent pancancer sequencing studies. This overview of methods and results will not only highlight the recent advances in cancer genomics, but also the methods and tools used to accomplish these advancements in a constantly and rapidly improving field.