Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Cancer, Theories Of

Current evidence suggests that cancer results from a complex interaction of carcinogens and the accumulation of several point mutations in cancer-causing genes. Some cancer genes are oncogenes that alter the cell cycle; others are tumor suppressor genes that normally check or restrain cell division.

See oncogene hypothesis, chromosome theory of cancer, epigenetic reprogramming, two-hit hypothesis, and loss of heterozygosity. Other factors that increase susceptibility to carcinogenesis include nutritional status, age, stress, and immunologic competence.

See specific cancer and tumor types, e.g. colon cancer, melanoma, neoplastic disorder.

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