Increasing attention is focusing on chromosomal and genome structure in cancer research due to the fact that genomic instability plays a principal role in cancer initiation, progression and response to chemotherapeutic agents. The integrity of the genome (including structural, behavioral and functional aspects) of normal and cancer cells can be monitored with direct visualization by using a variety of cutting edge molecular cytogenetic technologies that are now available in the field of cancer research. Examples are presented in this review by grouping these methodologies into four categories visualizing different yet closely related major levels of genome structures. An integrated discussion is also presented on several ongoing projects involving the illustration of mitotic and meiotic chromatin loops; the identification of defective mitotic figures (DMF), a new type of chromosomal aberration capable of monitoring condensation defects in cancer; the establishment of a method that uses Non-Clonal Chromosomal Aberrations (NCCAs) as an index to monitor genomic instability; and the characterization of apoptosis related chromosomal fragmentations caused by drug treatments.
Medical Genetics | Oncology | Pathology
Heng et al. Cell & Chromosome 2004, 3:1