Syllabus for Molecular Mechanisms in Cancer

Molekylära mekanismer vid cancer

  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 3PA013
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Medical Science A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2009-11-24
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2022-12-01
  • Revised by: The Master Programmes Board of the Faculty of Medicine
  • Applies from: Autumn 2023
  • Entry requirements:

    180 credits from educational programmes in biochemistry/chemistry, biology, biomedicine/medicine, biotechnology, cell/molecular biology, genetics, life science, medical sciences or a similar field of study. Also required is:
    courses in biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry, genetics, and molecular biology/-genetics totalling at least 30 credits; 
    Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

  • Responsible department: Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • describe the basic characteristics that distinguish a tumour cell from its normal counterpart
  • explain molecular mechanisms behind the development and progression of tumours
  • explain the major risk factors for carcinogenesis and how they are connected to the molecular mechanisms of cancer development
  • interpret and discuss current research in the field as well as new therapeutic strategies targeting tumour-associated molecular mechanisms, and how the new genetic and epigenetic knowledge can be used clinically

Competence and skills

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • independently analyse, process and formulate relevant scientific questions within the field of tumour biology, and discuss these orally as well as in writing
  • apply bioinformatic tools including within cancer research


Judgement and approach

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to: 

  • identify and discuss ethical aspects within the field
  • apply an ethical and scientific approach
  • show an ability to critically evaluate and appraise scientific research results within the field 


The aim of the course is to provide an in-depth understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the development of cancer. The course will provide students with the knowledge and training needed to approach and formulate scientific questions relevant to cancer biology. The course will also survey the frontiers of cancer research and aims to make the students accustomed to the applied advanced methods, technologies and state-of-the-art web-tools used in cancer research. Introductory lectures on basic tumour classification and pathology will be followed by more in-depth analysis of the cell- and molecular biology of cancer. Host response to cancer will also be discussed, as well as hereditary cancer. Current clinical diagnostics and treatment of cancer will be covered as well as methods and technologies used. Practical exercises during the course can be in the form of laboratory exercises and computer-based exercises. Seminars together with researchers during the course will give opportunities for students to discuss ongoing research in the field of cancer biology.


Topics discussed during the course:

Tumour biology and tumour classification, tumour viruses, oncogenes, growth factors and receptors, signalling pathways, tumour suppressor genes, epigenetics in cancer, apoptosis, tumorigenesis, genome instability, angiogenesis, tumour immunology, clinical oncology, cancer diagnostics and treatments; current and new therapies, current methods and technologies used in cancer diagnostics and research.


Instruction is given in English in the form of lectures and mandatory seminars, laboratory exercises, computer practicals and other theoretical and practical exercises such as problem-oriented assignments and presentations related to current research fields.


Examination is arranged during and at the end of the course. A passing grade on the entire course requires approved seminars, written, oral and practical exercises (3.5 credits) as well as a passing grade on the written exam (4 credits). The final grade is based on a weighted assessment of the student's achievement on included course components. Possibilities to complement non-approved mandatory components are given at the earliest during next course instance and will be subject to availability of space.


If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Reading list

The reading list is missing. For further information, please contact the responsible department.