Comprehensive intra-individual genomic and transcriptional heterogeneity: Evidence-based Colorectal Cancer Precision Medicine
Abstract Despite advances in translating conventional research into multi-modal treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC), therapeutic resistance and relapse remain unresolved in advanced resectable and, particularly, non-resectable disease. Genome and transcriptome sequencing and editing technologies, coupled with interaction mapping and machine learning, are transforming biomedical research, representing the most rational hope to overcome unmet research and clinical challenges. Rapid progress in both bulk and single-cell next-generation sequencing (NGS) analyses in the identification of primary and metastatic intratumor genomic and transcriptional heterogeneity (ITH) and the detection of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) alterations is providing critical insight into the origins and spatiotemporal evolution of genomic clones responsible for early and late therapeutic resistance and relapse. Moreover, DNA and RNA editing pave new avenues towards the discovery of novel drug targets. Breakthrough combinations of sequencing and editing systems with technologies exploring dynamic interaction networks within pioneering studies could delineate how coding and non-coding mutations perturb regulatory networks and gene expression. This review discusses latest data on genomic and transcriptomic landscapes in time and space, as well as early-phase clinical trials on targeted drug combinations, highlighting the transition from research to clinical Colorectal Cancer Precision Medicine, through non-invasive screening, individualized drug response prediction and development of multiple novel drugs. Future studies exploring the potential to target key transcriptional drivers and regulators will contribute to the next-generation pharmaceutical controllability of multi-layered aberrant transcriptional biocircuits.