Intratumor Heterogeneity: Novel Approaches for Resolving Genomic Architecture and Clonal Evolution

Ravi G. Gupta, Robert A. Somer
2017 Molecular Cancer Research  
High-throughput genomic technologies have revealed a remarkably complex portrait of intratumor heterogeneity in cancer and have shown that tumors evolve through a reiterative process of genetic diversification and clonal selection. This discovery has challenged the classical paradigm of clonal dominance and brought attention to subclonal tumor cell populations that contribute to the cancer phenotype. Dynamic evolutionary models may explain how these populations grow within the ecosystem of
more » ... es, including linear, branching, neutral, and punctuated patterns. Recent evidence in breast cancer favors branching and punctuated evolution driven by genome instability as well as nongenetic sources of heterogeneity, such as epigenetic variation, hierarchal tumor cell organization, and subclonal cell-cell interactions. Resolution of the full mutational landscape of tumors could help reconstruct their phylogenetic trees and trace the subclonal origins of therapeutic resistance, relapsed disease, and distant metastases, the major causes of cancer-related mortality. Real-time assessment of the tumor subclonal architecture, however, remains limited by the high rate of errors produced by most genomewide sequencing methods as well as the practical difficulties associated with serial tumor genotyping in patients. This review focuses on novel approaches to mitigate these challenges using bulk tumor, liquid biopsies, single-cell analysis, and deep sequencing techniques. The origins of intratumor heterogeneity and the clinical, diagnostic, and therapeutic consequences in breast cancer are also explored. Mol Cancer Res; 15(9);
doi:10.1158/1541-7786.mcr-17-0070 pmid:28596419 fatcat:nyfrmxfskzfj7pdhwjufjdmpdm