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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Mar;983:43-54.

Genetic and epigenetic mosaicism in cancer precursor tissues.

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Institute for Cancer Genetics and Department of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


The concept of field effects in cancer is old, but recent molecular data have substantiated it. Clones of cells that carry well-defined genetic or epigenetic aberrations, but which have not yet acquired the morphological hallmarks of neoplasia, have been documented in the precursor tissues of some of the most common pediatric and adult malignancies. Here I review this evidence, focusing on loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and gain of DNA methylation.

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