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The University of Southampton

BIOL6071 Cancer Chromosome Biology

Module Overview

This module will deliver a comprehensive analysis of selected topics associated with the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive cancer development and lead to tumour progression. This will involve exploring the genetic drivers of disease, the mechanisms of aneuploidy, how the immune system influences tumour development, the impact of disrupted cellular signalling pathways on cancer progression, and the mechanisms of tumour metastasis and invasion. In addition, genomic and proteomic research methods utilised to probe the underlying mechanisms of cancer will be discussed.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of the module are to provide students with a research level understanding of various topics in cancer biology associated with carcinogenesis, tumour progression, and metastasis. This will require understanding the genetic drivers of cancer development and the mechanisms of progression both at the molecular and cellular level. Students will appreciate how both familial genetic and somatic mutations drive carcinogenesis and will understand how unfaithful cell division results in chromosomal aneuploidy. This module will also discuss how various proteins are assembled to hold chromosomes together during cell division, how these protein complexes need to be disassembled when a cell finally divides, and how chromosome division is ultimately controlled by various checkpoints, so ensuring that daughter cells inherit chromosomes correctly. In addition, this module will provide students with a broad understanding of tumour immunology and how cancer cells have developed mechanisms to evade the immune system. Overall, students will gain an appreciation for the impact of dysregulated cellular signalling and how this leads to tumour progression. Finally, students will integrate how these events lead to mechanisms of cancer metastasis and ultimately to tumour invasion of distant tissues.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the inherited causes of cancer with examples of familial cancer syndromes.
  • Outline the approaches used to detect somatic mutations in cancer on a genomic scale.
  • Describe the processes that control the association and disassociation of chromosomes during cell division.
  • Describe how tumour cells are recognised and targeted by the immune system.
  • Explain the cancer immunoediting model using relevant examples of immune escape mechanisms.
  • Describe how dysregulation of basic cellular signalling pathways contributes to the development of cancer.
  • Explain how tumour-stroma interactions influence cancer progression.
  • Describe the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transformation and the mechanisms of tumour metastasis.


- Carcinogenesis - Genetic causes of cancer - Cancer genomics - The control of chromosome segregation - Tumour and immune cell interactions - Tumour immune escape - The impacts of dysregulated cancer cell signalling - Epithelial-mesenchymal transformation - Tumour metastasis and invasion

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is delivered principally via lectures, supported by informal discussions with lecturers and independent study of recommended reading material.

Independent Study130
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 35%
Written exam  (2 hours) 65%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 35%
Written exam  (2 hours) 65%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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