Genomic Instability and Cancer Susceptibility
Development of invasive carcinoma is widely believed to rely on a nested series of somatic mutations that results in activation of oncogenes and deactivation of tumor suppressors. Although the accumulation of somatic mutations plays a central role, the tissue in which these mutations arise exerts control over the fate of these mutated cells. The steady increase of the incidence of cancers of the digestive tract raises pressing questions about tissue control and how environmental influences modulate and destabilize it. The Ellis laboratory currently focuses on epigenetic mechanisms involved in early-onset colorectal cancer.