Molecular oncology: current trends in diagnostics

Future Oncol. 2008 Feb;4(1):61-70. doi: 10.2217/14796694.4.1.61.


Applications of molecular diagnostics to oncology have been slow to make their way to the clinical laboratory. While numerous genes and mutation spectra have been found to be involved in tumorigenesis, it is only recently that these findings begin to become useful in a clinical setting. Building on the technical knowledge obtained from molecular infectious disease testing, new instruments and assays have been developed to answer similar questions regarding qualitative, quantitative and genotyping issues. In this manuscript we describe two current examples of clinical molecular diagnostic applications, the assessment of BCR-ABL in chronic myelogenous leukemia patients and the detection of tumor cells in the sentinel lymph nodes of breast cancer patients, to demonstrate the role of molecular techniques in a routine clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / analysis*
  • Genetic Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / instrumentation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy / methods*


  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl