Molecular epidemiology in cancer research (review)

Alberto Izzotti, Monica Neri, Daniela Vecchio, Riccardo Puntoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In recent years, a new tool known as 'molecular epidemiology' has been developed for cancer research. This approach evaluates molecular phenomena of the carcinogenesis process as related to exogenous and endogenous risk factors. Modern laboratory methodologies make available for similar studies many applicable endpoints. These techniques may be applied directly in tissues bearing risk for cancer development (target tissues) or in 'surrogate' tissues more easily recoverable but not prone to neoplastic transformation. Possible useful endpoints are related to metabolic cell activities, presence of toxic substances metabolites in various cell compartments, genotypic lesions or phenotypic alterations. The present article reports and briefly comments the main laboratory techniques used in molecular epidemiology studies, with particular reference to results obtained in humans undergoing environmental exposure to cancer risk factors. It is concluded that each single end point possesses specific attributes highlighting only some aspects of the complex carcinogenesis process. Therefore, molecular epidemiology studies comparing multiple endpoints normally produce the most reliable and useful data, and should represent the gold standard in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1069
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Volume11
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Keywords

  • Biomonitoring
  • Molecular epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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