PATH3309 Cancer Pathology

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine major sequence
This unit offers an advanced study in cellular and molecular changes responsible for the development and progression of human cancers. Special emphasis is given to the role of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes in abnormal cell growth, programmed cell death, as well as mechanisms of tumour angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis and response to therapy. Several major types of human cancers are covered including those of the breast, colon and prostate. Hereditary cancer syndromes are also discussed. Practical aspects of the unit include techniques for investigation into the cellular and genetic changes occurring in human tumours.
Students are able to (1) achieve an understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the genetic predisposition, development and progression of neoplasia in humans; (2) develop an understanding of the role of modifications to oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes in abnormal cell growth as well as factors which influence programmed cell death and mechanisms implicated in tumour angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis; (3) gain an understanding of the pathobiology of the major types of human cancers including those which occur in the breast, colon and prostate; (4) gain an understanding of the strategies and possible outcomes of different types of therapies applicable to different types of cancer; (5) develop laboratory skills through practical sessions which are designed to expose them to a wide range of techniques and methods used to investigate and demonstrate cellular and genetic changes associated with the development of human tumours; and (6) develop skills in synthesis, critique and oral presentation of scientific literature.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) continuous assessment and (2) end of semester examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Belinda Guo and Assoc. Prof. Kathy Fuller
Unit rules
PATH2210 Fundamentals of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and PATH2220 Introduction to Human Disease
PATH3302 Cancer Pathology
Contact hours
lectures: 2-3 hours per week; tutorials/seminars: 2–3 hours per week (up to 5 sessions throughout semester); labs: 3 hours per week (total of 9 hours throughout semester)


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.