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Biology LibreTexts

13.S: Cancer Genetics (Summary)

  • Cancer is the name given to a class of different diseases that share common properties.
  • Most cancers require accumulation of mutations in several different genes.
  • Most cancer causing mutations are sporadic, rather than inherited, and most are caused by environmental carcinogens, including virus, radiation, and certain chemicals.
  • Oncogenes are hyperactivated regulators of cell division, and are often derived from gain-of-function mutations in proto-oncogenes.
  • Tumor suppressor genes normal help to repair DNA damage, arrest cell division, or to kill over proliferating cells.  Loss-of-function of these genes contributes to the progression of cancer.
  • Genetic research into cancer can provide enzyme targets for drug investigation and potential treatment. E.g. Gleevec™

Key Terms:

metastasis

dysplasia

carcinogen

HPV

oncogene

ionizing

epidemiology

proto-oncogene

receptor

signal transduction

ras

apoptosis

BRC1A

p53

tumor suppressor

phosphorylation

CML

Gleevec

bcr-abl

 

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