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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The breast cancer genome - a key for better oncology

Hans Kristian Moen Vollan1234 and Carlos Caldas345*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research and Department of Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Division of Surgery and Cancer, Oslo University Hospital Radiumhospitalet, 0310 Oslo, Norway

2 Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, 0318 Oslo, Norway

3 Breast Cancer Functional Genomics, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, Cambridge, UK

4 Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, Li Ka-Shing Centre, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0RE, UK

5 Cambridge Breast Unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital and Cambridge National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:501  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-501

Published: 30 November 2011


Molecular classification has added important knowledge to breast cancer biology, but has yet to be implemented as a clinical standard. Full sequencing of breast cancer genomes could potentially refine classification and give a more complete picture of the mutational profile of cancer and thus aid therapy decisions. Future treatment guidelines must be based on the knowledge derived from histopathological sub-classification of tumors, but with added information from genomic signatures when properly clinically validated. The objective of this article is to give some background on molecular classification, the potential of next generation sequencing, and to outline how this information could be implemented in the clinic.