Current best practices and rationalistic perspectives in causation-based prevention, early detection and multidisciplinary treatment of breast and gastric cancer

Gastric & Breast Cancer e-journal
DOI: 10.2122/gbc.2011.0190


Functional Genomics and Chromatin: Why understanding gene expression regulation is essential to revolutionize cancer therapy?

Dimitrios H. Roukos, MD, PhD.

Affiliation: 1 Personalized Cancer Genomics Medicine, Biobank, Ioannina University School of Medicine, Ioannina, 45110 Greece.
2 Department of Surgery, Ioannina University School of Medicine, Ioannina, 45110 Greece.

T: +302651007423, F: +302651007094


The continuing rapid drop of cost for whole-genome sequencing with current ~ $5000 allows the identification of most inherited and somatic mutations involved in cancer. The goal to be completed over the next decade the reference database of the total of genetic alterations for each cancer type appears now realistic. However, as the first data on targeted (partial) exome sequencing or whole-genome sequencing by using next-generation sequencing technology are published, it becomes clear that without understanding genome function apart of genome structure in health and cancer, little can be done in improving cancer prevention or treatment and cure this highly fatal disease.

Chromatin consisted of DNA and DNA-binding factors and a tremendous number of histone and non-histone proteins controls and regulates gene expression. Yet the understanding of organization and architecture of chromatin is in the first steps and requires the exploration of three major interacting systems: transcription factors, non-coding RNAs including microRNAs and histone proteins on which the DNA is wound. Here, I summarize the advances in delineating physical connections among a large set of molecules and the challenges to predict functional regulatory networks. Despite substantial problems to predict the inference of complex dynamic biomolecular networks, chromatin dynamic states and gene expression regulation, current and emerging breakthrough genome-mapping technologies and computational biology allow a euphoria to achieve the goal of understanding biological principles that drive genome function in healthy and cancer. If we reach this future destination, then the discovery of highly effective drugs and robust biomarkers will be an easy approach to cure cancer.

(Citation: Gastric & Breast Cancer 2011; 10(4): 207-213)

This article is 7 pages long.


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last update: 7 September 2011