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Tumor Sequencing and Personalized Cancer Treatment

Sep 25, 2019


Tumor sequencing provides insight into the changes in a patients’ tumor genome. Tumor DNA sequencing may be also referred as genetic profiling or genetic testing. Sequencing results can help in clinical decision making to create a personalized cancer treatment plan based on the molecular characteristics of the tumor rather than the one-size-fits-all treatment approach. Tumor Sequencing plays a large role in the cancer research as well. 

Thanks to the sequencing of the human genome in 2003 and the advances in tumor sequencing technology, we have large datasets of cancer / tumor genome sequences of populations of patients with different cancer types available for analysis in the public domain. The analysis of these datasets of cancer (tumor) genome sequences has revealed that the genetic makeup of every patient is different and no two cancers are alike. However, the analysis has also highlighted that cancers of a specific tissue primary such as lung cancer or colorectal cancer or a myeloma will have certain dominating characteristics that are distinctly unique to that cancer type. There have also been ethnic variations found in cancers of the same origin – eg. there will be differences seen in lung cancer subtype between Jewish and Chinese populations. It is due to these large variations in the cancer characteristics that a one-size-fits-all treatment cannot be a good option for cancer patients.

Tumor Sequencing and Personalized Cancer Treatment

Tumor Sequencing as a step for aiding Personalized Cancer Treatment

Once a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, the stage of the cancer is determined based on the size and spread of the tumor. Conventional treatment options are discussed and suggested as per guidelines. There are specific chemotherapy used for specific cancer types as the first line option. Chemotherapy can be used prior to surgery to shrink the tumor, it can be used to control the rapid growth of the tumor, it can be used when the tumor has spread to other parts of the body or it can be used post surgery as preventative to wipe out any remnants of the cancer. However, as evidenced from clinical studies, the response rate of most chemotherapy is not greater than 50-60% and this is due to the variation in the tumor genes of cancer patients. While chemotherapy is the mainstay of cancer treatment and despite the severe and debilitating side-effects, is a necessity to control the fast growing cancer, the choice of chemotherapy needs to be personalized. Sequencing provides insight into the changes in the patient’s tumor genome. Tumor sequencing results aid doctors in clinical decision making and creating a personalized cancer treatment plan. Sequencing of tumor also plays a key role in the development of novel targeted therapies for cancer.

What is Personalized Nutrition for Cancer? | What foods/supplements are recommended?

Personalized cancer treatment is thus a move away from the one-size-fits-all treatment approach that is determined by the individual’s tumor characteristics ( identified by tumor sequencing ), in order to improve efficacy of response, quality of life, and be more targeted to the tumor without causing collateral damage to the normal cells. In addition, the chemotherapy when scientifically complemented by the right natural supplements selected based on chemo and cancer characteristics (identified by tumor sequencing) can further improve the odds of success and well being of the cancer patient.

Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer. Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.