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Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Feb;6(2):99-106.

Common markers of proliferation.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Medical School, 7400 Remsen, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA. whitfield@dartmouth.edu


When normal tissue and tumour samples are compared by microarray analysis, the biggest differences most often occur in the expression levels of genes that control cell proliferation. However, this difference is detected whenever mRNA samples that are taken from two cell populations with different proliferation rates are compared. Although the exact genes that comprise this 'proliferation signature' often differ, they are almost always genes that are involved in the fundamental process of cell proliferation. Can the proliferation signature be used to improve our understanding of the cell cycle and cancer pathogenesis, as well as being used as a biomarker for cancer diagnosis and prognosis?

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