Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
WUNSCH FILHO, Victor and GATTAS, Gilka J Figaro.. Molecular biomarkers in cancer: implications for epidemiological research and public health. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2001, vol.17, n.3, pp. 467-480. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2001000300003.
Identification of molecular biomarkers is a common result of current cancer epidemiological research. Both genetic and molecular epidemiology have enjoyed impressive developments in recent decades, with important repercussions on traditional epidemiological approaches. In this paper we evaluate the new frontiers of cancer epidemiology, incorporating both genetic and molecular biology approaches. We examine the current knowledge of molecular biomarkers for exposure and susceptibility to cancer, the role of gene mutations in carcinogenesis, and their application to epidemiological studies. By exploring the status of relevant biomarkers, these approaches become effective in evaluating exposure and susceptibility and show enormous potential for elucidating mechanisms of carcinogenesis and the effect of risk factors in cancer. However, these approaches are necessarily more invasive and raise several ethical issues for consideration by both researchers in public health and society as a whole.
Keywords : Cancer; Genetics; Molecular Biology; Molecular Epidemiology; Epidemiologic Methods.