7. Pharmacogenomics, pharmacogenetics and cancer

Pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics have probably progressed most in the development of cancer treatments.

New mutations (changes) that appear in tumour tissue in cancer genetics are known as somatic mutations (see section 7.1 below). Somatic mutations are the reason for tumour growth and are therefore the main focus of cancer genetics research. However, genetic variation in a patient’s normal tissue is also important in cancer therapy. Such variation is known as germline variation (see section 6.2 below). This type of variation is inherited – i.e. passed on from parents.