Editors: Misa Nakamura, Kennichi Kakudo

Molecular Mechanism and Morphology in Cancer

eBook: US $59 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $136
Printed Copy: US $107
Library License: US $236
ISBN: 978-1-60805-387-2 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-073-4 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2009
DOI: 10.2174/97816080507341100101


The WHO report estimates that 12 million people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. In addition, the report predicts that more than 7 million people will die early from the disease. Together, the number of cancer cases and deaths from cancer are expected to increase by one percent each year. Cancer research has seen remarkable advancements, including the multi-step carcinogenesis theory and the identification of a cancer stem cell. These advancements are being applied to clinical therapies targeting the oncogene. In addition, the function of the gene product is becoming clear through analysis of the intracellular signaling of the oncogene. As a result, it has become clear that the morphologies of the cancers depend on the kind of the abnormal gene. Of course, these differences would influence patient’s life and death and is summarized by specialists in this area. This theme includes the full range of human diseases regarding medical genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, anatomy, pathology, structural biology, molecular cell biology, neuroscience and developmental biology. The eBook contains articles written by specialists in this area. It should prove to be of great use to clinicians and scientists in all medical fields.


Traditionally diagnosis of pathology is established on the basis of morphological findings. In most cases, it provides precise information on human tumors regarding their tissue origins, histological types, differentiation degrees, and stages, and this information is the basis for therapy design. However, the clinical outcome of a tumor is not completely mirrored by its morphology. Tumors with identical morphology and stage may present different clinical behaviors. Emergence of molecular pathology is improving the insufficient situation encountered with morphology alone-based diagnosis. Molecular pathology is a rapidly growing field which allows us to read the tumors as precisely as possible by providing information on their morphology as well as on their molecular signatures. There is no doubt that a new interpretation of human tumors based on both molecular biology and morphology will provide clinically more meaningful information.

The eBook, edited by Drs. Nakamura and Kakudo, provides new insight on some issues in molecular pathology with comprehensive reviews of the recent advances in the most active topics. In the first chapter, Drs. Hirota and Isozaki describe a vivid story of how they defined the gastrointestinal stromal tumors based on their molecular analysis and tumor morphology. In the chapter by Dr. Nagashima et al., the molecular basis responsible for the diversity of renal tumor pathology is discussed thoroughly. Dr. Nakamura et al. discuss another important topic on the genetic status underlying the different responses of morphologically similar gliomas to chemotherapy. Drs. Li and Yang then explain the inconsistent side between morphology and clinical outcome in breast cancer with a review of the theories concerning how the Bcl-2 gene family exerts their pro- or anti-apoptotic effect. Next, Dr. Han emphasizes the significance of chromosomal rearrangements in prostate cancer development and morphology, citing the E26 transformation-specific family as an example. In the chapter by Dr. Ozaki et al., authors describe a new type of cell death (microwave cell death) and discuss the necessity of new criteria combining morphology and molecular biology to identify various cell deaths. Thyroid tumors, in particular the follicular lesions, are well-known for the interobserver variation in pathological diagnosis. In the last chapter, Dr. Nakamura et al. outline the signal pathway alterations underlying the thyroid tumors and discuss the value of molecular analysis in improving the pathological diagnosis.

The biological behavior and the morphology of a tumor are controlled by a complex network of functionally active and inactive signaling pathways. The new knowledge and skills in molecular biology is reshaping the conventional diagnostic approaches for human tumors. It is challenging to integrate the molecular technologies and pathological approaches into a diagnostic algorithm and further to standardize the diagnostic approaches. This eBook provides clues on the rapid integration for tumor diagnosis. It is my pleasure to introduce you this book.

Liang Shan
Molecular Imaging Editor
National Center for Biotechnology Information
National Institutes of Health


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