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Clinical Implications and Utility of Field Cancerization



Gabriel D. Dakubo, J P. Jakupciak, Rajiv Dhir, M A. Birch-Machin, Ryan L. Parr


Cancer begins with multiple cumulative epigenetic and genetic alterations that sequencially transform a cell or a group of cells in a particular organ. The early genetic events might lead to clonal expansion of preneoplastic daughter cells in a particular tumor field. Subsequent genomic changes in some of these cells drive them towards the malignant phenotype. These transformed cells are diagnosed histopathologically as cancers owing to changes in cell morphology. Conceivably, a population of daughter cells with early genetic changes, without histophathology, remain in the organ, demonstrating the concept of field cancerization. With present technological advancement, including laser capture microdisection and high-throughput genomic technologies, carefully designed studies using appropriate control tissue will enable identification of important molecular signature in these genetically transformed but histologically normal cells. Such tumor-specific biomarkers should have excellent clinical utility. This review examines the concept of field cancerization in four areas of oncology; risk assessment, early cancer detection, monitoring of tumor progression and definition of tumor margins.
European Journal of Cancer


biomarkers, early detection, field cancerization, mtDNA, risk assessment


Dakubo, G. , Jakupciak, J. , Dhir, R. , Birch-Machin, M. and Parr, R. (2021), Clinical Implications and Utility of Field Cancerization, European Journal of Cancer (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created October 12, 2021