Spring 2020 - MBB 446 D100

The Molecular Biology of Cancer (3)

Class Number: 2753

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

    Fr 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    MBB 322 and 331, with a minimum grade of C, or permission of the instructor.



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 exams (3x20%) 60%
  • Two short writing assignments 30%
  • Class participation 10%



This course will be based largely on primary literature and review articles.


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

Department Undergraduate Notes:

  • For help with writing, learning and study strategies please contact the Student Learning Commons at
  • Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or e-mail:  caladmin@sfu.ca)

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