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Salk JJ, Horwitz MSPassenger mutations as a marker of clonal cell lineages in emerging neoplasia. Sem Cancer Biol 20(5): 294-303

Department of Pathology, University of Washington School of Medicine MB 357705, 1959 NE Pacific St., Seattle, WA 98195, United States.
Seminars in Cancer Biology (Impact Factor: 9.33). 10/2010; 20(5):294-303. DOI: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2010.10.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cancer arises as the result of a natural selection process among cells of the body, favoring lineages bearing somatic mutations that bestow them with a proliferative advantage. Of the thousands of mutations within a tumor, only a small fraction functionally drive its growth; the vast majority are mere passengers of minimal biological consequence. Yet the presence of any mutation, independent of its role in facilitating proliferation, tags a cell's clonal descendants in a manner that allows them to be distinguished from unrelated cells. Such markers of cell lineage can be used to identify the abnormal proliferative signature of neoplastic clonal evolution, even at a stage which predates morphologically recognizable dysplasia. This article focuses on molecular techniques for assessing cellular clonality in humans with an emphasis on how they may be used for early detection of tumorigenic processes. We discuss historical as well as contemporary approaches and consider ways in which powerful new genomic technologies might be harnessed to develop a future generation of early cancer diagnostics.

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