High-throughput analysis, including next-generation sequencing and microarrays, have strongly improved our understanding of cancer biology. However, genomic data on rare cancer types, such as neuroendocrine neoplasms, has been lagging behind. Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) develop from endocrine cells spread throughout the body and are highly heterogeneous in biological behavior. In this challenging disease, there is an urgent need for new therapies and new diagnostic, prognostic, follow-up and predictive biomarkers to aid patient management. The last decade, molecular data on neuroendocrine neoplasms of the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas, termed gastroenteropancreatic NENs (GEP-NENs), has strongly expanded. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the recent advances on (epi)genetic level and highlight their clinical applications to address the current needs in GEP-NENs. We illustrate how molecular alterations can be and are being used as therapeutic targets, how mutations in DAXX/ATRX and copy number variations could be used as prognostic biomarkers, how far we are in identifying predictive biomarkers and how genetics can contribute to GEP-NEN classification. Finally, we discuss recent studies on liquid biopsies in the field of GEP-NENs and illustrate how liquid biopsies can play a role in patient management. In conclusion, molecular studies have suggested multiple potential biomarkers, but further validation is ongoing.

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doi.org/10.1007/s11154-019-09508-w, hdl.handle.net/1765/118611
Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders
Department of Internal Medicine

Boons, G. (Gitta), Vandamme, T., Peeters, M., van Camp, G., & Op de Beeck, K. (Ken). (2019). Clinical applications of (epi)genetics in gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms: Moving towards liquid biopsies. Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders. doi:10.1007/s11154-019-09508-w