Pathology of cancer

Tumour types 39 Histological identification 40 Tumour classification 43 Grading 44

Frozen section examination 45 Transmission election microscopy (TEM) 46 Immunocytochemistry (ICC) 47 Flow cytometry 48

Cancer is a genetic disease at cellular level. The final result of synchronous or sequential lesions usually involving more than one gene is the capability acquired by the transformed cell(s) to undergo clonal, autonomous and purposeless growth into measurable masses. These masses comprise tightly packed cells with a varying amount of extracellular matrix of variable density incorporating disorderly distributed, newly formed blood and lymphatic vessels. Malignant cells' proliferation rate is influenced by numerous factors, but is finally characterized by aggressiveness that consists of invasion of adjacent normal tissues and distant metastatic spread by several routes.

Each germ cell and each somatic cell—some 200 cell types—can be a tumour's starting point. Several hundred tumours exist due to the large but not unlimited constellation of genetic alterations responsible for neoplastic proliferation at various body sites, each with its own natural history. About 12 are responsible for over 80% of cancer deaths (carcinoma of breast, lung, colon and rectum, prostate, stomach, pancreas, urinary tract, ovary, liver, kidney, melanoma, leukaemias and lymphomas).

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