Molecular epidemiology, biomarkers and cancer prevention

Trends Mol Med. 2001 Nov;7(11):517-21. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4914(01)02162-1.


Molecular epidemiological studies within the field of cancer research provide the potential for elucidating the carcinogenic cascade at the molecular level. Identification of susceptible subsets of the population, based on polymorphisms in genes involved in carcinogenesis, has the potential to delineate more clearly those factors that might increase cancer risk among some, but not all, individuals. Rapid advances in human genomics are making it possible to develop detailed profiles of susceptible subgroups based upon genetic variants in multiple pathways. Here we discuss examples of recent susceptibility studies involving genes, such as those involved in carcinogen metabolism, DNA repair, cell cycle and immune status, that hold the promise of increasing our understanding of cancer etiology and possible prevention strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • DNA Repair
  • Humans
  • Immunity / genetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Epidemiology / methods*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*


  • Carcinogens