Epidemiology, pathogenesis and diagnostics of cancer

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
MED/01 MED/04 MED/06 MED/15
Learning objectives
The training course aims to transfer to the students the basic knowledge of tumors pathogenesis and diagnosis, with particular reference to the development of the epidemiology, pathology and medical genetics notions and their applications to the diagnosis and therapy of tumors.
In particular:
- Comprehension of the frequency and distribution of tumors and the environment influence on tumor
- Concepts of cancer stem cells, their biology, functional pathways, involved genes and their instability
- Concepts of solid tumors and hematological malignancies, their biology, and the molecular diagnostics applied to their assessment.
Expected learning outcomes
Epidemiology of cancer
Molecular mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis
Alteration of cancer cell biology
Molecular classification of solid and hematological tumors
Approaches for diagnosis of solid and hematological tumors
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Third trimester
Course syllabus
Medical statistics:
Patterns and trends of cancer mortality in Europe.
Tobacco and cancer risk.
Alcohol and cancer.
Other environmental risk factors of cancer, including nutrition and diet.
General pathology and immunology:
Cancer Stem Cells:
Identification and origins. Biologic characteristic of cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cell niches. Regulation of cancer stem cells by the
tumor microenvironment and cytokine networks.
Cancer cell growth: nutrient regulation, control of tumor growth and metabolism, pathways that control cell growth, es. mTOR.
Autophagy: Autophagy-mediated tumor suppression; tumor promotion by autophagy; role of autophagy in cancer therapy.
Cellular Senescence: Biochemical and morphological characteristics of senescent cells; causes of senescence; premature
senescence. Major pathways regulating senescence. Tumor promoting and tumor suppressing activity of senescence-associated
secretory phenotype.
Medical Oncology:
Natural history of solid cancer; Cancer clinical methodology; Building state of the art in oncology;
Principles of cancer multidisciplinary treatment; Principles of medical cancer treatment; Biology-driven therapy in solid cancer: the
model of colon cancer; Molecularly targeted therapy: the model of GIST.
Blood diseases:
Molecular and biological mechanisms of acute and chronic myeloid disorders. Diagnostic tools- Concept of risk stratification
Molecular and biological mechanisms of lymphoproliferative disorders. Diagnostic tools- Concept of risk stratification
Prerequisites for admission
The student must have acquired the general concepts of the biological and molecular pathogenetic mechanisms of human diseases and the basic laboratory techniques for the study of cellular functions, phenotype and genome.
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons supported by visual means. Exercises at the diagnostic and research laboratories of the different course modules. These methods will put the student in the best condition to learn the mechanisms of human diseases and the main and current diagnostic techniques.
Teaching Resources
Pdf files of presentations. Review article on different topics.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will be a written test on the topics listed in the program. In particular, each student will receive a test with 31 closed-ended questions for the duration of one hour and the mark will be expressed in thirtieths. With the help of slides and laboratory tests, each student will be provided with all the tools necessary for passing the exams. The result of the written test will be communicated on the Unimia portal.
Blood diseases
MED/15 - BLOOD DISEASES - University credits: 2
Lessons: 14 hours
General pathology and immunology
Lessons: 7 hours
Medical Oncology
MED/06 - MEDICAL ONCOLOGY - University credits: 2
Lessons: 14 hours
Medical statistics
MED/01 - MEDICAL STATISTICS - University credits: 1
Lessons: 7 hours