Since the publication of the fourth edition of The Basic Science of Oncology there have been major advances in our knowledge about the molecular basis of cancer, largely as a result of the rapid development of powerful techniques to study the genome and epigenome and to the parallel advances in techniques to study 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 5th edition of The Basic Science of Oncology places the major advances that have occurred in the context of previous studies that have generated the important background to cancer biology. Many of the chapters have new authors and all have been extensively revised and rewritten to reflect our new knowledge. We have added new chapters on the emerging areas of the tumor microenvironment and metabolism (Chapter 12) and cancer stem cells (Chapter 13).
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 of using relatively short sections that allows the reader to investigate a particular interest selectively, and include 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 many people for their assistance in producing this fifth edition. To our authors, particularly the new ones, who have responded to our many requests for alterations with forbearance. To our publishers who have encouraged us and accepted with good grace our failure to meet our initial deadlines and whose artists have redrawn all the figures in keeping with the new color format. To our 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.