Morphological and molecular classification of human cancer

Mark E. Sherman, Melissa A. Troester, Katherine A. Hoadley, William F. Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Accurate and reproducible classification of tumors is essential for clinical management, cancer surveillance, and studies of pathogenesis and etiology. Tumor classification has historically been based on the primary anatomic site or organ in which the tumor occurs and on its morphologic and histologic phenotype. While pathologic criteria are useful in predicting the average behavior of a group of tumors, histopathology alone cannot accurately predict the prognosis and treatment response of individual cancers. Traditional measures such as tumor stage and grade do not take into account molecular events that influence tumor aggressiveness or changes in the tumor composition during treatment. This chapter provides a primer on approaches that use pathology and molecular biology to classify and subclassify cancers. It describes the features of carcinomas, sarcomas, and malignant neoplasms of the immune system and blood, as well as various high-throughput genomic platforms that characterize the molecular profile of tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSchottenfeld and Fraumeni Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, Fourth Edition
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780190238667
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Histopathology
  • Molecular biology
  • Morphology
  • Pathology
  • Tumor
  • Tumor classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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