Single cell analysis of cancer genomes


Genomic studies have provided key insights into how cancers develop, evolve, metastasize and respond to treatment. Cancers result from an interplay between mutation, selection and clonal expansions. In solid tumours, this Darwinian competition between subclones is also influenced by topological factors. Recent advances have made it possible to study cancers at the single cell level. These methods represent important tools to dissect cancer evolution and provide the potential to considerably change both cancer research and clinical practice. Here we discuss state-of-the-art methods for the isolation of a single cell, whole-genome and whole-transcriptome amplification of the cell's nucleic acids, as well as microarray and massively parallel sequencing analysis of such amplification products. We discuss the strengths and the limitations of the techniques, and explore single-cell methodologies for future cancer research, as well as diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Journal details

Volume 24
Pages 82-91
Publication date


Type of publication