The pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes (PCAWG) is an international collaborative effort to sequence the whole genomes of over 2500 tumors (spanning 38 different types of tumors) and their associated normal tissue. Think of it as the next iteration of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Just in case you didn’t appreciate it, this is a massive amount of data to collect, characterize, and analyze. Multiple working groups were assembled to attack different facets of cancer biology. A series of important studies have been reported simultaneously in Nature from the project. Here, you can read the sweeping narrative of the endeavor as well as the highlights reels. It describes the broad landscape of genomic events in cancer including how such events vary across tumor types. The breadth of driver mutations, structural variants, non-coding mutations, and catastrophic chromosomal events is staggering. TBL: Seeing these events over the evolution of a tumor’s life should be humbling to anyone haphazardly throwing around the term “precision medicine.” | PCAWG, Nature 2020


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