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Transcriptomics and solid tumors: The next frontier in precision cancer medicine.

Authors
  • Tsimberidou, Apostolia M
  • Fountzilas, Elena
  • Bleris, Leonidas
  • Kurzrock, Razelle
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2022
Source
eScholarship - University of California
Keywords
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Unknown
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Abstract

Transcriptomics, which encompasses assessments of alternative splicing and alternative polyadenylation, identification of fusion transcripts, explorations of noncoding RNAs, transcript annotation, and discovery of novel transcripts, is a valuable tool for understanding cancer mechanisms and identifying biomarkers. Recent advances in high-throughput technologies have enabled large-scale gene expression profiling. Importantly, RNA expression profiling of tumor tissue has been successfully used to determine clinically actionable molecular alterations. The WINTHER precision medicine clinical trial was the first prospective trial in diverse solid malignancies that assessed both genomics and transcriptomics to match treatments to specific molecular alterations. The use of transcriptome analysis in WINTHER and other trials increased the number of targetable -omic changes compared to genomic profiling alone. Other applications of transcriptomics involve the evaluation of tumor and circulating noncoding RNAs as predictive and prognostic biomarkers, the improvement of risk stratification by the use of prognostic and predictive multigene assays, the identification of fusion transcripts that drive tumors, and an improved understanding of the impact of DNA changes as some genomic alterations are silenced at the RNA level. Finally, RNA sequencing and gene expression analysis have been incorporated into clinical trials to identify markers predicting response to immunotherapy. Many issues regarding the complexity of the analysis, its reproducibility and variability, and the interpretation of the results still need to be addressed. The integration of transcriptomics with genomics, proteomics, epigenetics, and tumor immune profiling will improve biomarker discovery and our understanding of disease mechanisms and, thereby, accelerate the implementation of precision oncology.

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