Many diseases in humans are not caused by single genetic mutations; rather their outcome is influenced by complex interactions between environment, lifestyle and genetic predisposition. On the other hand, there are many reports on the linkage between the prevalence of specific mutations and the outbreak of cancer.
One step in the analysis of tumour develop-ment and carcinogenesis is to screen the relevant biochemical markers. Among other markers, specific genetic alterations have been linked to the development of solid tumours, e.g. BRCA1 and 2 mutations with breast cancer, or p53 mutations and lung cancer development.
Large population screening campaigns to identify specific genetic alterations are typically expensive, labor intensive and of low sensitivity for detection of low levels of mutations in a large wild-type background.