According to the latest cancer statistics1 there will be 1 359 150 new cancer cases in the United States in 1996. Cancer involving the digestive organs will account for 222 500 new cases. Further, it is estimated that there will be 554 740 cancer deaths, and, of these, 125 410 will involve cancers of the digestive organs; colorectal cancer will rank second and pancreatic cancer will rank fifth. These data underscore the importance of gastrointestinal cancers. Thus, the textbook edited by Rustgi is a timely addition to other textbooks and monographs on the subject.
The first section of Gastrointestinal Cancers provides a useful overview of the biology of gastrointestinal cancer, with appropriate emphasis on embryology, biochemistry, and molecular genetics. There follows a very useful discussion of the role of oncogenes (specifically peptide growth factors) and tumor-suppressor genes in normal and neoplastic cells. The bulk of the book consists of