CANCER

Diagnostic tumor methylation profiles

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Science  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6349, pp. 367-368
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6349.367-c

Diagnosis of specific types of cancer is vital for decisions regarding treatment and monitoring plans. However, acquiring sufficient tissue from a tumor biopsy to perform a histological examination and diagnosis can be difficult because of limited tumor accessibility or ambiguous tissue samples. Methods that allow minimally invasive biopsies are required to improve patient care. Hao et al. identified DNA methylation profiles associated with four common cancers that can be used to identify tumors from smaller tissue samples with accuracy comparable to that of current diagnostic methods. These methylation markers can also be used to identify the tissue of origin of metastasized cancers, which can be critical for treatment, and as predictors of prognosis and survival to improve standards of diagnosis.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1703577114 (2017).

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