Rapid Research Autopsy: Piecing the Puzzle of Tumor Heterogeneity.

Krook MA, Chen HZ, Bonneville R, Allenby P, Roychowdhury S
Trends Cancer 5 1-5 01/01/2019

Abstract

Tumor heterogeneity decreases the effectiveness of anticancer therapies and is an important topic in translational cancer research, given its relevance in clinical oncology. Here, we discuss how rapid research autopsy of cancer patients can elucidate heterogeneity-associated processes including cancer evolution and acquired therapeutic resistance. In practice, rapid research autopsy is performed shortly after a patient's passing to procure multiple metastatic tumor samples for genomic studies through next-generation sequencing and development of patient-derived xenografts or organoids. Mechanistic insights gained from research autopsy studies of cancer patients can help identify new targets for therapeutic intervention. Finally, the success of research autopsy programs is bolstered by collaboration across different medical and scientific disciplines in addition to support from patients and families.

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