Module 3: Lesson 9 – Molecular Pathology of Cancer and Application in Cancer Diagnosis, Screening and Treatment


Name: Prof Faisal Mohamed Fadlelmola
Affiliation: Centre for Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (CBSB) at the Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum
Location: Sudan

Prof. Faisal Mohamed Fadlelmola, PhD, FBCS, FIBMS, CTDP, University of Khartoum, Sudan. Experienced Principal Investigator with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Genomics, Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Information Technology, and Life Sciences. Strong research professional with a Postdoctoral Fellowship Training focused in Cancer Genomics and Bioinformatics from the Centre for Translational and Applied Genomics (CTAG), BC, Vancouver, Canada. Since August 2012, he works as the Principal Investigator for the H3ABioNet Sudan Node. H3ABioNet, the NIH funded Pan African Bioinformatics Network for Human Heredity and Health in Africa, is being developed to support H3Africa research projects through the development of bioinformatics capacity on the continent. Currently, he is the chair of the H3ABioNet Research Working Group (January 2015-Present) as well as active member of Education and Training Working Group and the H3ABioNet Management Committee (January 2013-Present) and some of the H3Africa Working Groups. In October 2014, he started working as the head and founder of the newly established Centre for Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (CBSB) at the Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum, Sudan. He has been involved in a variety of research projects on topics such as cancer genomics, bioinformatics, molecular epidemiology of cancer, translational and applied genomics, mobile health and mobile learning, among many others.
For further information: website:

This module covers the molecular mechanisms that underlie cancer development, growth and metastasis, and the differences between different cancers. It will explore the different molecular and cellular actions of anticancer treatments, the genomic factors affecting response and resistance to treatment, and the research approaches to anti-cancer drug design and development. Broad situations which confer a high cancer risk to a person and/or to other members of the same family will be discussed in the context of how genomic information may be integrated into cancer screening programmes and health promotion practices.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify environmental factor and lifestyle pre-disposition and protection for common cancers in Africa such as breast, prostate?
  • Critical assessment and awareness of the potential contribution of genomic medicine to screening and diagnosis and management of cancer patients;
  • Discuss therapeutic strategies that exploit the knowledge accrued in genomic analyses to provide precision medicine for cancer patients;

Class Videos

Class Slides

Assessments: Pre-Class Exercise
CASE STUDY: A Researcher Mined TCGA Data to Study Her Own Ovarian Cancer!

Please, read the above article and answer the questions that follow:
1) Could you give your reflections with regard to the impact of new genomic medicine discoveries in personalized medicine in treating one’s own cancer?
2) What will be your reaction if you or one of your close relatives face similar case as Shirley Pepke?
3) What home taken messages, would you take from this case study?
4) List local cancer support groups or organizations in your areas which you could recommend to a cancer patient and their families for support?

 Assessments: Class Exercise
Please, select either paper 1 or 2:
Question 1:
LIM J.N.W. & OJO A.A. Barriers to utilisation of cervical cancer screening in Sub
Sahara Africa: a systematic review. (2017) European Journal of Cancer Care. 26, e12444, doi: 10.1111/ecc.12444.
Please, read the above article and answer the questions that follow:
1. What are the main aims/objectives of this systematic review?.
2. This systematic review used a meta-analysis approach. Briefly, explain what is meant by meta-analysis using this review as an example in your answer.
3. What are the primary concepts of ‘cervical cancer screening’ were expanded in this review to generate additional keywords for the search?
4. Briefly, describe the selection process of the articles retrieved in this systematic review.
Q. List 5 of the key barriers of personal and institutional nature preventing utilisation of cervical cancer screening services.

Question 2
S.S. Coughlin, D.U. Ekwueme. Breast cancer as a global health concern. Cancer Epidemiology 33 (2009) 315–318.
Please, read the above article and answer the questions that follow:
1. Why are breast cancers commonly diagnosed at late stages in low-and middle-income countries (LMCs)?
2. What is the percentage (%) of the increasing of incidence rates of breast cancer per year in populations in developing countries?
3. How does public health data measure the global burden of breast cancer in women?
4. What is BHGI stands for and explain briefly its mission and its proposed action plans?
5. What are the main reasons that LMCs are not prioritizing cancer registries which include breast cancer?

Class Evaluation
See course evaluations section.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Extra Reading
1. The Cancer Genome Atlas: The Genetic Basis of Cancer Video – Click here This video is one in a series of videos from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project, explaining TCGA’s approach to determining the important genomic changes that lead to cancer. TCGA researchers, Drs. Richard Gibbs, Peter Laird, Stacey Gabriel and Neil Hayes, talk about the difference between a normal cell and cancer cell and how understanding the changes in DNA that cause cancer can help doctors develop better treatments. The Cancer Genome Atlas is a comprehensive and coordinated effort supported by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute to accelerate our understanding of the genetics of cancer using innovative genome analysis technologies. To learn more about The Genetic Basis of Cancer,  please visit this site
2. Molecular basis of cancer – Click for Video (Credit Walker Biology)
3. Genome Integrity and Cancer Prevention: Molecular Mechanisms of DNA Repair Click for Video (Credit NIH)
4. Molecular Biology of Cancer Click for Video