Genetics of Cancer 1 -- Introduction to Cancer Biology
Cancer is a group of diseases caused by loss of cell cycle control.
Cancer is associated with abnormal uncontrolled cell growth.
Carcinogens are substances which cause cancer by mutating DNA.
Many genes that can mutate to cause cancer control the cell cycle or DNA maintenance (repair).
II. Control of the cell cycle
Origin of cancer:
Cancer begins from the growth of a single abnormal cell.
•A mutation occurs allowing a cell to undergo cell division when it would not normally divide.
• Division produces more abnormal cells.
Mutations can occur:
•In somatic cells => sporadic cancer only affecting the individual
•In germline cells => mutations that are inherited
•Germline mutations usually require second somatic mutation also.
Telomeres affect the cell cycle
III. Characteristics of cancer cells
•Divide continually (given space and nutrients)
•Heritable mutations: cells with mutations have daughter cells which inherit the same mutations.
•Dedifferentiated: cells lose their specialized identity
•Different appearance: reflects dedifferentiation
•Lack contact inhibition: will divide in a crowd of cells and pile on top of each other
•Induce angiogenesis (local blood vessel formation)
•Increased mutation rate
•Invasive: squeeze into any space available
•Metastasize: cells move to new location in the body
Cell division rates of normal and cancer cells
Cancer can progress slowly over years