Surgical Management of Melanoma: Concept of Field Cancerization and Molecular Evaluation of Tissue Margins
The concept of field cancerization, first proposed by Slaughter in 1953, describes a process whereby cells in a particular tissue or organ are sequentially transformed by multiple cumulative genetic and epigenetic alterations, such that a clonal expansion of pre-neoplastic genetically-altered, but morphologically normal-appearing cells is present, prior to the development of overt malignancy. Additional genomic aberrations are required for cancer development, but these precursor cells may persist with the malignant cells of a tumor.
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