Cancer treatment in the future may need to be based on more than one biopsy, as new research has found that there is significant variation in the genetics of a tumour.
The study by scientists at the London Research Institute and the UCL Cancer Institute conducted a genome-wide analysis of cancerous kidneys. They found that around two-thirds of abnormal genes were not consistent across samples from the same tumour.
"The next step will be to understand what's driving this diversity in different cancers and identify key driver mutations that are common throughout all parts of a tumour," said the lead author of the work professor Charles Swanton.
In total, doctors assessed more than 118 different mutations, 40 of which were shared by all tumours, but 25 were unique to specific cancers.
According to Cancer Research UK, more than one in three people will develop cancer at some point in their lives.