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Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2014 Oct;11(10):610-8. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2014.101. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

How does genome sequencing impact surgery?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Leiden University Medical Centre, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands.


Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. Great efforts are dedicated to the development of prognostic and predictive biomarkers to improve diagnosis and achieve optimal treatment selection, thereby, introducing precision medicine in the multimodality treatment of cancer. Genomic aberrations are the basis of tumour development, representing excellent candidates for the development of promising clinical biomarkers. Over the past decade, single-gene mutations and genomic profiling have been increasingly used in multidisciplinary consultations for risk-assessment and treatment planning for patients with cancer. We discuss the impact of such genetic-based information on surgical decision-making. Single-gene mutations have already influenced surgical decision-making in breast, colorectal and thyroid cancer. However, the direct impact of genomic profiling on surgical care has not yet been fully established. We discuss the direct and indirect influences of genomic profiling on surgery, and analyse the limitations and unresolved issues of a genotypic-approach to the surgical management of cancer.

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