Supercharge your learning!

Use adaptive quiz-based learning to study this topic faster and more effectively.

Genetic development of cancer

The development of cancer is a multi-step process involving a series of mutations.

  • A cancer usually begins when an oncogene is activated via the mutation of a proto-oncogene. This causes cell replication and division to occur more rapidly.
  • Tumour suppressor genes are often inactivated leading to formation of a benign tumour.
  • As mutations accumulate in the cell genome, more oncogenes are turned on and more tumour suppressor genes are switched off. This eventually leads to the formation of a malignant tumour.
  • These cells are now cancerous; they have the ability to damage surrounding tissue and metastasise (spread to other parts of the body).