Since the first edition of Breast Cancer: Prognosis, Treatment and Prevention was
published there has been a tremendous amount of new information related to the basic
and clinical applications of this disease which can affect 1 of 8 people in the USA and
1 of 12 in European countries.
There have been a significant number of advances
in the field of cancer research since the
first edition of Cancer Biology, which was published
in 1981. These include advances in defining
the genetic and phenotypic changes in cancer
cells, the genetic susceptibility to cancer, molecular
imaging to detect smaller and smaller tumors,
the regulation of gene expression, and the
‘‘-omics’’ techniquesofgenomics, proteomics,and
metabolomics, among others.
Telomeres play an important role in cellular aging and cancer. Human
telomeric DNA and RNA G-rich sequences are capable of forming a four-stranded structure, known as the G-quadruplex. Such a structure might be
important for telomere biology and a good target for drug design.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer continues to take
a devastating toll. Among women in the United States, cancer is the
second-leading cause of death after heart disease. Medical researchers
fighting against cancer have made significant progress, however. In
recent years, cancer incidence rates have been stable, and—although
the annual rate of decline in cancer death rates among men have been
twice as large as the declines in women—mortality has decreased for
ten of the top 15 cancers in women.
Over the last three decades, knowledge on the molecular biology of human cancers has vastly expanded. A host of genes and proteins involved in cancer development and progression have been defined and many mechanisms at the molecular, cellular and even tissue level have been, at least partly, elucidated. Insights have also been gained into the molecular mechanisms underlying carcinogenesis by chemical, physical, and biological agents and into inherited susceptibility to cancer. Accordingly, Part I of the book presents many of the molecules and mechanisms generally important in human cancers.
Over the past 20 years, technological advances in molecular biology have
proven invaluable to the understanding of the pathogenesis of human cancer.
The application of molecular technology to the study of cancer has not only
led to advances in tumor diagnosis, but has also provided markers for the
assessment of prognosis and disease progression. The aim of Molecular Analysis
of Cancer is to provide a comprehensive collection of the most up-to-date
techniques for the detection of molecular changes in human cancer.
Cell culture is practiced extensively throughout the world today. The techniques
required to allow cells to grow and be maintained outside the body have been developed
throughout the 20th century. In the 50 years since the publication of the first
human cancer cell line, HeLa (1), thousands of cell lines representing most of the
spectrum of human cancer have been derived. These have provided tools to study in
depth the biochemistry and molecular biology associated with individual cancer types
and have helped enormously in our understanding of normal as well as cancer cell
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most fatal human malignancies with extremely poor
prognosis making it the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United
States. The molecular mechanisms of pancreatic carcinogenesis are not well
understood. The major focus of these two books is towards the understanding of the
basic biology of pancreatic carcinogenesis, identification of newer molecular targets
and the development of adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapies.
We planned the first edition of this book on a ‘need to know’
basis, its primary object being to provide students and medical
and dental practitioners with the knowledge essential for an
informed approach to the prevention and treatment of viral
infections. We aimed also at supplying just enough basic virology
to underpin the more practical aspects—clinical manifestations,
epidemiology, pathogenesis, immune responses, and so
forth. And not least, we tried our best to make the text as readable
as is possible, given the highly technical nature of some of
Telomerase DNA polymerase is unable to replicate the tips of chromosomes, resulting in the loss of DNA at the specialized ends of chromosomes (called telomeres) with each replication cycle. At birth, human telomeres are 15- to 20-kb pairs long and are composed of tandem repeats of a six-nucleotide sequence (TTAGGG) that associate with specialized telomere-binding proteins to form a T-loop structure that protects the ends of chromosomes from being mistakenly recognized as damaged.
Other Nonmelanoma Cutaneous Malignancies
Neoplasms of cutaneous adnexa and sarcomas of fibrous, mesenchymal, fatty, and vascular tissues make up 1–2% of NMSC (Table 83-6). Some can portend a poor prognosis such as Merkel cell carcinoma, which is a neural crestderived, highly aggressive malignancy that exhibits a metastatic rate of 75% and a 5-year survival rate of 30–40%. Others, such as the human herpes virus 8-induced, HIV-related Kaposi's sarcoma, exhibit a more indolent course.
In spite of the massive efforts being made worldwide to
understand molecular genetics and epigenetic factors
responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer,
the statistics on this malignancy have remained enormously
negative; the following data testify to this unfortunate
human condition. There are more than 100 types of
cancers that can inflict any part of the body. In 2005, 7.6
million people died of cancer, which makes up 13% of
the 58 million deaths worldwide. Approximately 1.
Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among women worldwide, and infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has been identified as the causal agent for this condition. The natural history of cervical cancer is characterized by slow disease progression, rendering the condition in essence preventable and even treatable when diagnosed in early stages.
Oncogenes in Human Cancer Oncogenes of the kind found in human cancers were initially discovered through their presence in the genome of retroviruses capable of causing cancers in chickens, mice, and rats. The cellular homologues of these viral genes are often targets of mutation or aberrant regulation in human cancer. Whereas many oncogenes were discovered because of their presence in retroviruses, other oncogenes, particularly those involved in translocations characteristic of particular leukemias and lymphomas, were isolated through genomic approaches.
Antiangiogenic Therapy Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate tumor angiogenesis may provide unique opportunities for cancer treatment. Acquired drug resistance of tumor cells due to their high intrinsic mutation rate is a major cause of treatment failure in human cancers. ECs comprising the tumor vasculature are genetically stable and do not share genetic changes with tumor cells; the EC apoptosis pathways are therefore intact.
The potential value of artificial neural networks (ANNs) as a predictor of malignancy has
now been widely recognised. The concept of ANNs dates back to the early part of the 20th
century; however, their latest resurrection started in earnest in the 1980s when they were
applied to many problems in the areas of pattern recognition, control, and optimisation.
In the past 15 years, molecular biologists and geneticists have uncovered
some of the most basic mechanisms by means of which normal stem cells
in a certain organ or tissue develop into cancerous tumors. This biological
knowledge serves as a basis for various models of carcinogenesis.
This book describes a course of cancer growth starting from normal cells to cancerous form and the genomic instability, the cancer treatment as well as its prevention in form of the invention of a vaccine. Some diseases are also discussed in detail, such as breast cancer, leucaemia, cervical cancer, and glioma. Understanding cancer through its molecular mechanism is needed to reduce the cancer incidence.
Today, cancer research is focused on determining how genome and proteome level
information may be useful as tools in prevention, diagnosis, and prognosis. The
development of “omics” technologies, such as proteomics and transcriptomics has
opened new research areas for scientists working on cancer research.