Although presently known as an environmentally-related disease and appears mostly sporadic, cancer is regarded as a genetic disease based on the presence of gene mutation as a consistent factor. The "Philadelphia Chromosome" found consistently among chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients was the first significant finding of a chromosomal abnormality specifically related to a particular disease. Starting from this point, cytogenetics as the study of chromosomes has become a valuable tool in the assessment of cancer - as an aid in diagnosis, thus guiding therapy, and as a prognostic marker. As is the nature of the proliferating marrow, chromosomal abnormalities were found mostly in hematologic malignancies, and the findings more pathognomonic. The situation is different in solid tumors, which when visible to the naked eye already will have complex chromosomal changes and thus pose technical difficulties to the cytogeneticist. However, scientists believe that the shift in chromosomal studies from conventional cytogenetics to molecular cytogenetics will provide further information regarding solid tumors.
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