NEW FINDINGS about cancer's molecular underpinnings are revealing how genetic and environmental factors interact to cause at least one type of cancer and are pointing the way to the detection of other malignancies.
As researchers decipher at the molecular level the events that lead to cancer, they're beginning to weave together once independent threads of research. The picture emerging from these efforts is revealing how relationships such as the link between high-fat diets and certain cancers make sense in light of an individual's genetic background, and why some family members with a particular cancer gene develop a malignancy while others do not.
One malignancy in which such threads are coming together is colon cancer. Scientists have known that mutations of the human adenomatous polyposis coli gene (APC) are responsible for sporadic and familial colorectal cancers, including familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). In this autosomal dominant inherited disease, family members who inherit