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Advantages and limitations of microarray technology in human cancer


Cancer is a highly variable disease with multiple heterogeneous genetic and epigenetic changes. Functional studies are essential to understanding the complexity and polymorphisms of cancer. The final deciphering of the complete human genome, together with the improvement of high throughput technologies, is causing a fundamental transformation in cancer research. Microarray is a new powerful tool for studying the molecular basis of interactions on a scale that is impossible using conventional analysis. This technique makes it possible to examine the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously. This technology promises to lead to improvements in developing rational approaches to therapy as well as to improvements in cancer diagnosis and prognosis, assuring its entry into clinical practice in specialist centers and hospitals within the next few years. Predicting who will develop cancer and how this disease will behave and respond to therapy after diagnosis will be one of the potential benefits of this technology within the next decade. In this review, we highlight some of the recent developments and results in microarray technology in cancer research, discuss potentially problematic areas associated with it, describe the eventual use of microarray technology for clinical applications and comment on future trends and issues.

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We are grateful to Marie Basso for her editorial assistance in the preparation of this manuscript. We apologize that many articles published during this period could not be cited because of space limitations. This review was supported by NIH grants and the Sbarro Health Organization to AG. GR acknowledges the Ph.D. program ‘Diagnostic, Quantitative and Molecular Pathology’ of the University of Siena, Italy.

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Correspondence to Antonio Giordano.

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Russo, G., Zegar, C. & Giordano, A. Advantages and limitations of microarray technology in human cancer. Oncogene 22, 6497–6507 (2003).

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