The pathogenic mechanisms of a disease (or condition) are set in motion by the underlying causes, which if controlled would allow the disease to be prevented .  Often, a potential cause is identified by epidemiological observations before a pathological link can be drawn between the cause and the disease. The pathological perspective can be directly integrated into an epidemiological approach in the interdisciplinary field of molecular pathological epidemiology .  Molecular pathological epidemiology can help to assess pathogenesis and causality by means of linking a potential risk factor to molecular pathologic signatures of a disease.  Thus, the molecular pathological epidemiology paradigm can advance the area of causal inference .