The first observations indicative of a role of genetic factors in carcinogenesis were made as early as 1912, when Rous demonstrated that a filterable agent (i.e. virus) could induce cancer in chicken (Rous 1965). In 1914, Boveri postulated a "genetic" theory on carcinogenesis by hypothesizing that the development of malignant tumor cells is caused by either the predominance of chromosomes which promote cell division, or by the elimination of chromosomes which inhibit cell division (Boveri, 1914). In the last decade, research techniques in molecular biology have advanced rapidly. As a result, biological science has recently made huge steps forward in understanding the human genome. The disclosure of the human genome seems imminent, as, in February 2001, two research groups (the Human Genome Project (HGP) and Celera Genomics) published their draft sequences of the near complete human genome (Lander, Linton et al. 2001; Venter, Adams et al. 2001). With the knowledge of the human genome sequence and new molecular research techniques it is now possible to monitor gene expression levels on a genomic scale. These new data promise to enhance the fundamental understanding of life at the molecular level. As, in general, genetic alterations are thought to play a major role in tumor development and tumor progression ((Fearon and Vogel stein 1990); (Knudson 1993)), knowledge of molecular genetics seems essential in understanding the etiology and the biological behavior of cancer.

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T.J.M. Helmerhorst (Theo)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Smid-Koopman, E. (2002, October 16). Endometrial cancer : from a molecular genetic perspective. Retrieved from