Since the publication of the fifth edition of The Basic Science of Oncology our knowledge about the molecular basis of cancer has continued to grow, as a result of the continued rapid development of powerful techniques to study the genome and epigenome, as well as the levels of gene expression and the proteins that are produced. Concurrent with understanding of the molecular pathways that drive the development and progression of cancer, and the heterogeneity of the changes in these pathways in individual cancers, new molecular-targeted agents have been developed and are being tested, with variable success, in attempts to treat cancers selectively. The sixth edition of The Basic Science of Oncology places these major advances in the context of previous studies that have generated the important background to cancer biology. Many of the chapters have new authors and have been extensively revised and rewritten to reflect our new knowledge. We have added new chapters on Epigenetics (Chapter 3) and Molecular Targeted Therapies (Chapter 19).
As in previous editions we have attempted to bring together the contributions of experts into a book that, we believe, is suitable for fellows, residents, nurses, medical students, graduate students, and senior undergraduates who are interested in the biology of cancer. We have maintained a format that allows the reader to investigate a particular interest selectively and included references that can be used as a guide for those seeking information in greater depth. We believe that the book will be useful as a teaching aid and as a broad introduction for those interested in the study and treatment of cancer.
We are grateful to Dr. Robert Bristow, our former co-editor for the fifth edition of this book, as well as many people for their assistance in producing this sixth edition. To our authors, including former and new contributors; to our publishers and their affiliates, who have encouraged us and accepted with good grace our failure to meet various deadlines and whose artists have redrawn many of the figures; to our colleagues, students, and trainees who have provided us with helpful and constructive criticism, and to our families who have continued to provide support and encouragement during the several phases of writing, rewriting, and reviewing.