A recent paper has confirmed just how great intratumor heterogeneity can be. This has implications for prognosis and cancer management.
However, extracting multiple samples from a single cancer case and assaying these samples is - given current technology - not practicable in terms of cost or timescale. These constraints often mean that microarray analysis or sequencing is confined to a snapshot of multiple cells from a single sample for each cancer case.
Are there any suggestions about how to characterize the molecular heterogeneity and genomic instability of cancers given these constraints? Specifically, I am thinking about how methods such as molecular phylogenetics can be applied to this situation. In many ways, the problems facing an evolutionary biologist are similar to those faced by tumor biologists: they must use a limited number of snapshots to infer the details of a heterogenous and dynamic process.
This seems interesting and I'm going to look further into this.Only downside for me is that it will be difficult to go back to samples and do methylation assays.