Although pediatric cancer is rare, it’s the leading cause of disease-related death among children who survive past infancy (in the Western world). Around 1 in 500 children will be diagnosed with cancer by age 15. Like most rare diseases, childhood cancer is difficult to study because so few patients are available. Even for the most common types — leukemia, brain/CNS tumors, and lymphomas — only a few hundred cases have been sequenced over the past decade. But we’re making progress.
Two consortium-led studies published last month in the journal Nature offer the most comprehensive surveys to-date of pediatric cancer genomes.