Cancer whole-genome sequencing: present and future.

Recent explosive advances in next-generation sequencing technology and computational approaches to massive data enable us to analyze a number of cancer genome profiles by whole-genome sequencing (WGS). To explore cancer genomic alterations and their diversity comprehensively, global and local cancer genome-sequencing projects, including ICGC and TCGA, have been analyzing many types of cancer genomes mainly by exome sequencing. However, there is limited information on somatic mutations in non-coding regions including untranslated regions, introns, regulatory elements and non-coding RNAs, and rearrangements, sometimes producing fusion genes, and pathogen detection in cancer genomes remain widely unexplored. WGS approaches can detect these unexplored mutations, as well as coding mutations and somatic copy number alterations, and help us to better understand the whole landscape of cancer genomes and elucidate functions of these unexplored genomic regions. Analysis of cancer genomes using the present WGS platforms is still primitive and there are substantial improvements to be made in sequencing technologies, informatics and computer resources. Taking account of the extreme diversity of cancer genomes and phenotype, it is also required to analyze much more WGS data and integrate these with multi-omics data, functional data and clinical-pathological data in a large number of sample sets to interpret them more fully and efficiently.

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