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Genome Med. 2015 Jul 29;7(1):80. doi: 10.1186/s13073-015-0203-x. eCollection 2015.

Next-generation sequencing to guide cancer therapy.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115 USA.
Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115 USA ; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142 USA.


As a result of multiple technological and practical advances, high-throughput sequencing, known more commonly as "next-generation" sequencing (NGS), can now be incorporated into standard clinical practice. Whereas early protocols relied on samples that were harvested outside of typical clinical pathology workflows, standard formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens can more regularly be used as starting materials for NGS. Furthermore, protocols for the analysis and interpretation of NGS data, as well as knowledge bases, are being amassed, allowing clinicians to act more easily on genomic information at the point of care for patients. In parallel, new therapies that target somatically mutated genes identified through clinical NGS are gaining US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, and novel clinical trial designs are emerging in which genetic identifiers are given equal weight to histology. For clinical oncology providers, understanding the potential and the limitations of DNA sequencing will be crucial for providing genomically driven care in this era of precision medicine.

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