Molecular Pathogenesis Of Colorectal Cancer: Implications For Molecular Diagnosis (pp. 1-23)
Authors: Arnold, Christian N.; Blum , Hubert E.; von Weizsäcker, Fritz (University of Freiburg,Germany)
Abstract: Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related death in both men and woman in industrialized countries. Major advances have been made to understand the molecular events leading to the formation of adenomatous polyps and cancer. Most colorectal cancers are sporadic, but a significant proportion (5-6 %) has a clear genetic background. It is now widely accepted that colorectal carcinogenesis is a multistep process involving the inactivation and activation of a variety of well defined tumor suppressor genes, oncogenes and DNA mismatch repair genes. Over the past recent years, evidence has accumulated indicating that apart from mutations or allelic losses, generally considered as genetic alterations, epigenetic alterations through aberrant promoter methylation and histone modification play a major role in the evolution and progression of colon cancer. In this article we summarize the current knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of common hereditary syndromes and sporadic forms of colorectal cancer. Novel molecular diagnostic tools for early diagnosis and prevention of colorectal cancer are discussed.