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Int J Mol Epidemiol Genet 2010;1(2):84-91.

Review Article
The development of molecular epidemiology to elucidate cancer risk and
prognosis: a historical perspective

Christine B. Ambrosone, Curtis C. Harris

Department of Cancer Prevention & Control, Division of Cancer Prevention & Population Sciences, Roswell Park
Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA; Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, CCR, NCI, NIH and Molecular Genetics and
Carcinogenesis Section, Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, CCR, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Received February 1, 2010, accepted February 11, 2010, available online: February 20, 2010

Abstract: Molecular epidemiology in cancer research grew from the field of chemical carcinogenesis and the use
biomarkers for environmental exposures, with incorporation of principles from early pharmacogenetics. Over the
years, molecular epidemiology has become extremely complex, with studies evaluating associations between cancer
risk and prognosis and numerous markers of susceptibility, exposure and early effects, as well as epidemiologic factors.
In this article, we review the field of molecular epidemiology from a historical perspective, commenting on current
status of the field and future directions. (IJMEG1002001).

Key words: Molecular epidemiology, cancer, chemical carcinogenesis, biomarker, polymorphism, cancer prognosis

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Address all correspondence to:
Christine B. Ambrosone, PhD
Department of Cancer Prevention & Control
Division of Cancer Prevention & Population Sciences
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo, NY, USA.