Spring 2022 - MBB 746 G100

The Molecular Biology of Cancer (3)

Class Number: 2616

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: Tue, Thu, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 26, 2022
    Tue, 3:30–6:30 p.m.



An examination of the molecular mechanisms that contribute to tumor formation, the hallmarks of cancer and their relationship to therapeutic strategies.


This course introduces the molecular biology of cancer, and how our understanding of cancer initiation and progression has evolved at the molecular and cellular levels. We will study the hallmarks of cancer, tumor progression, signal transduction pathways, cell death modalities, and cell survival processes, and how these have informed the design of cancer treatment strategies. 

Topics will include the following:   

  • Hallmarks of Cancer
  • Infectious agents and cancer
  • Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressors
  • Cancer progression and metastasis
  • Cancer stem cells and clonality
  • Cell death signaling pathways
  • Autophagy: dual roles in cancer
  • Biomarkers
  • Anti-cancer therapeutics  

In addition, we will explore recent selected special topics related to emerging concepts and recent therapeutic strategies. 
These may include:   
  • Epigenetic alterations
  • Personalized Oncogenomics
  • Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Tumour microenvironment


  • Class presentation 30%
  • Class participation 10%
  • Grant proposal 50%
  • Grant review 10%



None. This course will be based largely on primary literature and review articles.


Robert A. Weinberg. The Biology of Cancer. 2nd Ed. 2014. Garland Publishing (for background reading)
ISBN: 978-0-8153-4220-5

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.