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Wei Zhang, Gregory N. Fuller Jones and Bartlett Publishers: Sudbury, Massachusetts. 2004 344 pp. $149.95 0-7637-2261.
Major advances in cancer biology and genetics, along with powerful new genomic approaches, have begun to fundamentally change our understanding of cancer, including brain tumors. We have witnessed the sequencing of the human genome, and we have observed the development of new high-throughput approaches that can detect complex transcriptional patterns, protein-level alterations, and epigenetic changes that are hallmarks of cancer. Genomic and Molecular Neuro-Oncology aims to reshape our understanding of molecular neuro-oncology in the framework of these new developments.
Intended for scientists, clinicians, postdoctoral fellows, medical residents, and graduate students, Genomic and Molecular Neuro-Oncology serves as a resource for scientists already working in the field and as an introduction for researchers who are new to the field of molecular neuro-oncology. The book has 18 chapters, organized into 5 main thematic parts: (I) Genomic and Genetic Alterations in Gliomas, (II) Molecular Alterations in Gliomas, (III) Genomics and Informatics, (IV) Animal Models, and (V) Molecular Therapeutics. Part I has chapters devoted to methylation, chromosome 1p/19q loss, p53 inactivation, and the INI1 tumor suppressor gene. Part II addresses molecular classification, biological determinants of invasion and angiogenesis, and the insulin-like growth factors, their receptors, and binding proteins in brain tumors. Chapters in Part III focus on the development of gene expression classifiers of gliomas, bioinformatics approaches to analysis of gene expression data, comparative genomic hybridization analysis of gliomas, and abnormal regulation of RNA splicing. There is also a chapter on the use of tissue microarrays. Part IV deals with mouse glioma models and includes a chapter on the somatic cell gene transfer using a retroviral vectors model (RCAS/TVA system). Part V addresses gene-based therapy for gliomas and therapeutic targeting of pathways using oncolytic viruses and immunotherapy.
This book is important for its view of many of the recent developments in cancer biology as they are applied to gliomas. It focuses deeply needed light on the ways in which genomic and postgenomic approaches are beginning to reshape our understanding of the biology underlying glioma formation, progression, and response to treatment. Zhang and Fuller have assembled an outstanding group of contributors, and the chapters are largely very well written. With a couple of minor exceptions, the book is readable and each chapter is nicely placed in the context of the field. Among the many excellent chapters in this book, those on methylation and genomic damage (Chapter 1), abnormal regulation of RNA splicing (Chapter 11), and the RCAS/TVA mouse genetic model (Chapter 16) are exceptionally well written and informative. This volume is not rich in illustrations, but the provided diagrams are helpful and self-explanatory.
No single volume can be all encompassing, and Genomic and Molecular Neuro-Oncology is no exception. Except for the chapter on the INI1 tumor suppressor gene, which focuses on atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors, this book is exclusively devoted to the infiltrating gliomas. Other important CNS tumors such as medulloblastoma are not addressed. However, this limitation is outweighed by the value of a good up-to-date reference on infiltrating gliomas. In summary, this book fills an important niche in molecular neuro-oncology and provides a welcome new resource for glioma researchers, particularly for new researchers entering the field.