Fundamentals of Cellular and Molecular Biology

Molecular Basis of Cancer

Author(s): Maliha Sarfraz* and Hayat Ullah

Pp: 143-155 (13)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815238037124010014

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


 Cancer is a disease that arises from the uncontrolled growth of cells due to genetic mutations and epigenetic changes. Molecular biology has provided valuable insights into cancer development and progression mechanisms. Cancer cells have alterations in the genes that regulate cell growth, division, and death, leading to the accumulation of mutations that confer a survival advantage. Oncogenes promote cell growth and division, while tumour suppressor genes inhibit cell proliferation and induce cell death. Alterations in these genes and changes in DNA methylation and histone modifications lead to the dysregulation of cell signalling pathways, which contribute to cancer development. In addition, the tumour microenvironment plays a critical role in cancer progression by providing growth factors, cytokines, and extracellular matrix components that promote tumour growth and invasion. Molecular biology techniques such as DNA sequencing, gene expression profiling, and epigenetic analysis have facilitated the identification of driver mutations and key molecular pathways involved in cancer development, leading to targeted therapies that exploit these vulnerabilities. Understanding the molecular basis of cancer can revolutionize cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Keywords: Biomarkers, Cell growth, Cell signalling pathways, DNA methylation, Epigenetics, Genetic mutations, Gene expression profiling, Histone modifications, Oncogenes, Tumor suppressor genes, Targeted therapies.

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