Purpose of review
To describe recent advances in the application of advanced genomic technologies towards the identification of biomarkers of prognosis and treatment response in breast cancer.
Advances in high-throughput genomic profiling such as massively parallel sequencing have enabled researchers to catalogue the spectrum of somatic alterations in breast cancers. These tools also hold promise for precision medicine through accurate patient prognostication, stratification, and the dynamic monitoring of treatment response. For example, recent efforts have defined robust molecular subgroups of breast cancer and novel subtype-specific oncogenes. In addition, previously unappreciated activating mutations in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 have been reported, suggesting new therapeutic opportunities. Genomic profiling of cell-free tumor DNA and circulating tumor cells has been used to monitor disease burden and the emergence of resistance, and such ‘liquid biopsy’ approaches may facilitate the early, noninvasive detection of aggressive disease. Finally, single-cell genomics is coming of age and will contribute to an understanding of breast cancer evolutionary dynamics.
Here, we highlight recent studies that employ high-throughput genomic technologies in an effort to elucidate breast cancer biology, discover new therapeutic targets, improve prognostication and stratification, and discuss the implications for precision cancer medicine.