Etiology of specific molecular alterations in human malignancies

Cytogenetic and Genome Research. 2007;118:277-283 [Link]

Vauhkonen H, Heino S, Myllykangas S, Lindholm PM, Savola S, Knuutila S.

Department of Pathology, Haartman Institute and HUSLAB, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


Cancer results from multiple genomic changes that affect DNA and its gene expression. The DNA sequences may be gained, lost or amplified, or translocated into different parts of the genome to form a fusion gene with oncogenic properties. The occurrence of specific chromosomal aberrations may be restricted to only one cancer type and it may be considered a primary carcinogenic event. Furthermore, the aberration profiles may be used to cluster tumors with similar origins. A variety of techniques exist for the detection of specific chromosomal and gene expression changes. However, the etiology of these molecular alterations remains unclear. Here we discuss the roles of Helicobacter pylori and asbestos burden as carcinogens that cause gastric cancer, mesothelioma and lung cancer.