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This article is part of the supplement: Controversies in Breast Cancer 2009

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Next-generation sequencing

Jorge S Reis-Filho

Author Affiliations

Molecular Pathology Team, The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, 237 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JB, UK

Breast Cancer Research 2009, 11(Suppl 3):S12  doi:10.1186/bcr2431

Published: 18 December 2009


Next-generation sequencing (also known as massively parallel sequencing) technologies are revolutionising our ability to characterise cancers at the genomic, transcriptomic and epigenetic levels. Cataloguing all mutations, copy number aberrations and somatic rearrangements in an entire cancer genome at base pair resolution can now be performed in a matter of weeks. Furthermore, massively parallel sequencing can be used as a means for unbiased transcriptomic analysis of mRNAs, small RNAs and noncoding RNAs, genome-wide methylation assays and high-throughput chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Here, I discuss the potential impact of this technology on breast cancer research and the challenges that come with this technological breakthrough.