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The cancer genomics era

Since the discovery in 1982 of the link between HRAS gene mutations and bladder cancer, about 100,000 abnormal genes have been identified in cancer patients. As a result, much has been learned about the development of cancer, but with so many distinct cancer and tissue types, there is much more to be learned. Now with the development of massively parallel DNA sequencing, hundreds of millions of cancer-related mutations will soon be revealed. In a broad-ranging review, Michael Stratton, Peter Campbell and Andrew Futreal look back at the achievements of cancer genomics, and forward to the prospect that the complete DNA sequencing of large numbers of cancers will help us move towards a deeper understanding of how to treat cancers.

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