Since when is cancer not caused by mutation?

I feel a major rant about epigenetics coming on… must hold it back until a more convenient time. But I can’t refrain from commenting on just how wrong this is:

“We used to think that cancer was caused mainly by mutations of genes, but we now believe that epigenetic aberrations are responsible for more than half of cancer cases,” says Trygve Tollefsbol, who is a senior scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“That’s an important change because genetic mutations are very difficult, if not impossible, to correct, while epigenetic marks are potentially reversible,” he explains.

– Nutrition Action HealthLetter, July/Aug 2013, p. 10

I’ve heard a lot of BS claims made in the name of epigenetics, but this one takes the cake. Can anyone point me to an instance of any cancer that does not involve mutations? And where is the evidence that “more than half of cancer cases” are not caused by mutations? Anyone?

(And if you haven’t read this, you should: Mark Ptashne, “Epigenetics: core misconcept” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Apr 30;110(18):7101-3.)

NOTE: The article is not online yet, but comes from a big story on epigenetics in the July/Aug issue of the Nutrition Action Health Letter.

Linkonomicon 15

1. Skin cream from ancient Rome – via Michele Banks.
2. Jerry Coyne on epigenetics, right but crotchety.
3. The life, times, and hugs of Bora Zivkovic.
4. This is just, uh…WOW! – via Alex Wild.
5. Need a 3D printer for your kids’ art supplies? The internet has solved that .- via Maria Popova.

%d bloggers like this: