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4.7 out of 5 stars27
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 22 April 2008
This books makes understanding the molecular basis of cancer enjoyable and relatively easy. The author - a giant in the field of cancer research - has given us a well presented and well written, if not always concise, account of the biology of cancer.

The chapters follow a natural order, but the book certainly doesn't need to be read linearly - one can dip in and out of chapters with ease, since each is 'relatively' self-contained. I would say though, if you are a beginner, it would be best to at least read the first few chapters for a solid grounding in the basics (i.e. fundamental genetics, the idea of mutations, and the multistep and clonal origin of cancer).

The author not only gives an account of the diseased state but also of the biological processes which are disregulated in cancer. These include apoptosis, cell signalling and cell cycle control. The book covers many different sciences from structural biology to histological analysis of tissue, but all are relevant to the underlying discussion of cancer.

The style of writing is easy to read, and it often feels more like a story than a factual assault. However, this style does mean you may have to read multiple paragraphs to get a point which could have been described in a few sentences. Nevertheless, i would not consider this a failing - it makes the read more enjoyable and therefore more informative.

The diagrams are excellent, especially the summary diagrams of signalling networks. Weinberg also includes many tissue sections and pictures from primary literature and well as protein structures. This broadens our horizons - the biochemist will get an insight into medical oncology while the medic will be informed about signalling and cancer at the level of protein interactions. This book really does have it all.

The 'Synopsis and Prospects' sections at the end of each chapter are always interesting to read. They give an overview of the chapter and provide more insight and future directions. A list of bullet points summarising the key concepts and the thought questions are also useful for revision. References are provided but these are very limited, perhaps due to the vast body of literature that is out there. The glossary and list of abbreviations are useful and this book is not without its own self-indulgent quotations at the start of each chapter.

Who is this book for? I am a final year undergraduate in biochemistry and molecular biology and this book was perfect as an introduction to cancer. After reading this (or parts of this) i felt confident about tackling the primary literature - an otherwise daunting task, given its size. I'm sure it would also be useful to medical and biology students, both undergrads and others moving into the field. In fact, anyone with a general interest in cancer (as long as they have a reasonable scientific background) would greatly benefit from reading this marvelous book.
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on 1 July 2008
I am a master's student working in the cancer bioscience area of R & D. This book is excellent in all respects and I highly recommend it. I have seen other publications from this author in scientific journals and all are well written and informative and he has a very good reputation among scientists in the field. Chapters are intuitively structured and complete - figures are clear and enhance the text and the CD ROM has some great features including key figures in ppt format and audio lectures on specifics such as P53, metastases and molecular therapies. If you are starting out don't be put off by the depth of this book it takes you through the concepts in a clear and structured manor. I wish I had this book 3 years ago!!
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on 30 April 2007
I am a resident in medical onocology in Greece and for the first time I understood with such clarity the molecular mechanisms that can lead to cancer and how "things" work inside the cell, for example how Ras or tyrosine kinases work. It is the best book I have ever read in the molecular field of oncology and I strongly recommend it for all medical oncologists as a reference and introduction to the field. I am glad that I have persuaded the Head of the Department to include this book in the curriculum of our training.
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on 11 January 2012
I am a third year biology undergraduate, and although this was the course text and therefore the lecture material was based around this book, it still makes for fantastic reading.

The numerous diagrams and tables put what is often two pages worth of text into simple summary. The text requires basic scientific knowledge (perfectly acceptable for a third year undergrad- I think with the explanations this would be understood by first years), and often refers back to previous chapter sections within the text if the reader has forgotten or wants to clarify a concept which is mentioned.

Obviously with an ever changing field such as cancer biology, the text cannot be completely up to date, but as it was published in 2008 (I think!), it still covers concepts today which are still being researched: the authors have not been afraid to mention any research which has not been solidly proven, and although this may be controversial, it is mentioned in these areas of text that this is the case.

I love facts and learning new things (pretty pointless doing a degree if I didn't) and this text makes it fun, whilst also containing a lot of detail. The chapter sub-headings make it easy to find which piece of text you specifically want, but also as a reader you can obtain a very good knowledge without having been taught any of the topics.

The bonus for me was the CD that accompanies the book- if buying second hand make sure the seller includes it. Being able to print out the fantastic figures and tables to add to my notes has transformed what could be a very boring revision period to something that is interesting and triggers memory! A picture tells a thousand words!

A pricey book in comparison to some others on the market, but I would say it is definitely worth the extra money to have such an easy to read, informative, fun text.
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on 21 April 2011
I got this book for a 3rd year undergrad cancer module and i have to say that out of all the books that i needed throughout my degree, this is one that I will keep whilst the others end up on Ebay. What I particular like about this book is that it doesn't assume that you are already an expert in cell biology. If any of you have read the molecular biology of the cell by Lodish et al then you will know exactly what I mean. With this book you don't spend half your looking up the meaning of stuff on Google which makes for a frustrating learning experience. Everything is explained brilliantly and if you aren't sure of something then just flip to the back of the book and look up its explanation. The book also has some fantastic diagrams that are simple, colourful and most importantly, help you understand a relative complex subject such as cell signalling in a relatively painless manner. Also accompanying the book is a CD with all the diagrams as well as a few lectures from Mr. Weinberg himself. As if that wasn't enough you get a big poster with all the pathways involved in human Cancer which is handy to be able see how everything links together.

As much as i rave about this book this book it is true to say that nothing is perfect. As other reviewers have said, there is a lot of history about how we know what we know. Chapter 7 on signalling is probably the worst for this. When I first started using this book this really annoyed me as i just wanted to know the facts. But, when doing my revision for my exams, I have found that this story approach helps to order things in your mind and give you a structure of how to write a good essay in the final exam.
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on 3 September 2013
The new edition has got new important additions.
I strongly Recommend the new edition especially the part about the tumour microenvironment.
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on 11 April 2011
It's a book for your bookcase there is no doubt about this. The book is written more for graduate students that have good knowledge about molecular biology and cancer. That does not mean that the book is unsuitable for undergraduate students of Medicine or Pharmacy and generaly for Schools of Health Sciences. In last semester, I and my team we made a work for a subject in our School about cancer and especially in Metastasis and Antiangiogenic Drugs. We are undergraduate students and the book was really helpful. I am sure that I am going to use this book again in future as an undergraduate or graduate student. As I said before if you have some basic knowledge of Molecular Biology it would be easier to study and understand the complicated Biology of Cancer. Personally I bought this book from Amazon, which arrived in excellent condition and in estimated date. If you are a student of Medicine or Pharmacy, and if you are interested in cancer I recommend this book undoubtably. Is the ''BIBLE'' of Cancer.
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on 14 January 2012
Just hands down great!..... need 6 stars!!!

As a medical student doing research .... this book was a great help in understanding many principles about Molecular basis of cancers that most medical and biochem books only go over briefly.....

I would recommend this book to anyone in the field of biochem or molecular biology/genetics to read this!

For any medical students turning scientists!!
I would recommend that also get a copy of:

Bruce Albert's Famous Molecular Biology of the Cell book,
Biochemistry by Lubert L Stryer,
Neuroscience by Dale Purves,
Medical Physiology by Walter F. Boron,
Pathophysiology by K L McCance,
Principles of Pharmacology by Golan,
Molecular Neuropharmacology by Eric J. Nestler
Immunobiology by Janeway
Medical Microbiology by P R Murray
Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases by Hal Blumenfeld
Mathematical Physiology I and II by J Keener
Cellular Signal Processing by F Marks
Robbin's Pathology by V Kumar
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I have not had chance to read the book in its entirety. The chapters that I have raised are affordable and very clear. Both this book, as Bert Vogelstein & Kinzler, are works of reference for excellent support to the study of cancer.
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on 17 October 2009
I am not competent in biology beyond sixth form level, but found this book very well written even for me. It is possible to gain a great deal of understanding of topics which a layman would not know, such as the multiple
stages of cell changes before final malignancy, and the basis of some of the
latest lines of research, which can be misleading in the general press.
Clearly, it is of most value at undergraduate level, as I know my son-in-law,
a professor of molecular biology who has done much cancer research, uses it as course material with his students in America.
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