Tumor Sequencing: A laboratory method that is used to determine the entire genetic makeup of specific tumor cell types by identifying the exact sequence (order) of the four building blocks, or bases, that make up its DNA. This method can be used to find changes in areas of the genome. These changes may help scientists understand how specific diseases, such as cancer, form. Results of genomic sequencing may also be used to diagnose and treat disease.
DNA sequencing or testing, genetic/genomic sequencing, molecular sequencing, molecular analysis, tumor sequencing, molecular profiling, tumor analysis, etc. These terms, their technical semantics aside, all refer to essentially the same concept: scanning tumor cells for changes, or alterations, in its genetic and molecular makeup that are different from normal cells.
Brain tumors and cancer arise when cells in the brain begin to grow and multiply out of control. Typically, changes in the DNA that direct how cells function is the culprit for this uncontrolled growth.
Each person’s tumor has a unique combination of genetic changes, and tumor DNA sequencing—sometimes referred to in one of the other ways mentioned above—is a test to identify these unique DNA changes. In some cases, knowledge of these alterations in your tumor can help determine a treatment plan.
Additionally, tumor sequencing is critical to researching the potential causes and/or drivers of tumors, so that new treatments can be developed.
For Diagnosis and Treatment
Tumor sequencing is the foundation of precision medicine: treatment tailored to the specific molecular/genetic characteristics of each patient’s tumor.
As cancer treatment increasingly moves toward a precision medicine approach that relies on understanding the specific biological, genetic, and molecular changes that happen within cells to drive an individual’s tumor growth, sequencing patients’ tumors is becoming increasingly important. To do so, patients’ tumor tissue is scanned for mutations or other abnormalities linked to cancer. The results of these scans can indicate patients who are good candidates for targeted therapies or for clinical trials in which potential new treatments are being tested.