High-throughput technology has led to an “explosion” in cancer genetics and molecular-profiling research. In the field of hereditary cancer, genetic testing identifies individuals at very high risk of developing breast, colorectal gastric and other cancer types. This identification allows guided surgical or nonsurgical preventive intervention improving clinical outcomes. This evidence has already been translated into prevention guidelines for a wide clinical practice.
To overcome current cancer treatment failures, basic sciences and translational research have been focused on the development of novel biomarkers. This article describe the limitations of current TNM staging methods and evaluates latest research findings and prospects of gene-expression profiling of cancer tissue, circulating cancer cells and cancer stem cells to be clinically used as biomarkers for prognosis and prediction of response to specific therapies. Gene signatures of cancer stem cells and several oncogenic signaling pathways can lead to the development of innovative cancer drugs that target cancer stem cells or combined multiple pathways.