Gastric cancer (GC), a heterogeneous disease characterized by epidemiologic and histopathologic differences across countries, is a leading cause of cancer-related death. Treatment for GC patients is currently suboptimal due to patients being commonly treated in a uniform fashion irrespective of disease subtype. With the advent of next generation sequencing and other genomic technologies, GCs are now being investigated in great detail at the molecular level. High-throughput technologies now allow a comprehensive study of genomic and epigenomic alterations associated with GC. Gene mutations, chromosomal aberrations, differential gene expression and epigenetic alterations are some of the genetic/epigenetic influences on GC pathogenesis. In addition, integrative analyses of molecular profiling data has led to the identification of key dysregulated pathways and importantly, the establishment of GC molecular classifiers. Recently, the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) network proposed a four subtype classification scheme for GC based on the underlying tumor molecular biology of each subtype. This landmark study, together with other studies, has expanded our understanding on the characteristics of GC at the molecular level. Such knowledge may improve the medical management of GC in the future.
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