Biomarkers and the genetics of early neoplastic lesions.
Journal: Cancer Biomark
Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): CBRG
PubMed ID: 22112469
PMC ID: PMC3478673
Abstract: It has become increasingly evident that the study of DNA is inadequate to explain many, if not most, aspects of the development and progression of neoplastic lesions from pre-invasive lesions to metastasis. Thus, the term "genetic" can no longer refer to just the study of the genome. Much of the action in genetic research now shifts to the methods by which the pre-mRNA from one gene is processed to yield multiple different proteins, different quantities of the same protein as well as other forms of regulating RNA. Thus, the age of post-transcriptional processing and epigenetic control of the transfer of information from the genome has arrived. The mechanisms of post-transcriptional processing and epigenetic control that must be characterized in greater detail including alternate splicing, regulation of mRNA degradation, RNA regulatory factors including those factors which extensively edit mRNAs, control of translation, and control of protein stability and degradation. This chapter reviews many of the processes that control information from the genome to proteins and how these factors lead from less than 40,000 genes to more than an order of magnitude increase more proteins which actually control the phenotypes of cells - normal or neoplastic. It is usually the products of genes (e.g., mRNA, microRNA and proteins) that are the molecular markers that will control translational research and ultimately, individualized (personal) medical approaches to disease. This chapter emphasizes how the process of neoplasia "hijacks" the normal processes of cellular operations, especially those processes that are important in the normal development of the organisms - including proliferation, cellular death, angiogenesis, cellular mobility and invasion, and immunoregulation to ensure neoplastic development, survival and progression. This chapter reviews the wide range of processes controlling the information that flows from the genome to proteins and emphasizes how molecular steps in pure processes can be used as biomarkers to study prevention, treatment and/or management of diseases.