PATH3309 Cancer Pathology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
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) a two-hour end-of-semester written examination; (2) tests; and (3) assignments. 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
for pre-2012 courses: 12 points from ANHB2214 Human Organs and Systems, BIOC2201 Biochemistry of the Cell, BIOC2202 Biochemical Regulation of Cell Function, GENE3330 Molecular Genetics and Genomics, MICR2203 Introductory Immunology, MICR2204 Introductory Microbiology, MICR2206 Epidemiology and Infection, PATH2201 Introduction to Human Disease
Advisable prior study:
completion of Levels 1 and 2 of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine major;
Biomedical Science major
PATH3302 Cancer Pathology
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials/seminars: 2–3 hours per week (up to 4 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.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.