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Neoplasia. 1999 Jun;1(2):101-6.

The Cancer Genome Anatomy Project: EST sequencing and the genetics of cancer progression.

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Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, Office of the Director, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.


As the process of tumor progression proceeds from the normal cellular state to a preneoplastic condition and finally to the fully invasive form, the molecular characteristics of the cell change as well. These characteristics can be considered a molecular fingerprint of the cell at each stage of progression and, analogous to fingerprinting a criminal, can be used as markers of the progression process. Based on this premise, the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project was initiated with the broad goal of determining the comprehensive molecular characterization of normal, premalignant, and malignant tumor cells, thus making a reality the identification of all major cellular mechanisms leading to tumor initiation and progression ([Strausberg, R.L., Dahl, C.A., and Klausner, R.D. (1997). "New opportunities for uncovering the molecular basis of cancer." Nat. Genet., 16: 415-516.], The expectation of determining the genetic fingerprints of cancer progression will allow for 1) correlation of disease progression with therapeutic outcome; 2) improved evaluation of disease treatment; 3) stimulation of novel approaches to prevention, detection, and therapy; and 4) enhanced diagnostic tools for clinical applications. Whereas acquiring the comprehensive molecular analysis of cancer progression may take years, results from initial, short-term goals are currently being realized and are proving very fruitful.

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