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Are Activated Proto-ONC Genes Cancer Genes?

  • Peter H. Duesberg
  • Michael Nunn
  • Nancy Kan
  • Dennis Watson
  • Peter H. Seeburg
  • Takis Papas
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 91)

Abstract

Cellular genes, which are related to retroviral transforming (onc) genes have, therefore, been termed proto-onc genes, are now widely believed to be potential cancer genes. In some tumors, proto-onc genes are mutated or expressed more than in normal cells. Under these conditions, proto-onc genes are thought to be activated to function as cancer genes in view of two hypotheses: The one geneone cancer hypothesis which suggests that one activated proto-onc gene, like a viral onc gene, is sufficient to cause cancer and the multigene-one cancer hypothesis which speculates that an activated proto-onc gene, unlike a viral onc gene, is a necessary but not a sufficient cause of cancer. The evidence for these hypotheses is reviewed here using as examples proto-myc and proto-ras, the cellular prototypes of the onc genes of avian carcinoma virus MC29 and murine Harvey sarcoma virus. Since mutated or transcriptionally activated proto-onc genes are not consistently associated with a specific tumor and do not transform primary cells and since as yet no set of an activated proto-onc gene and a complementary cancer gene with transforming function has been isolated from a tumor, there is no proof that activated proto-onc genes are sufficient or even necessary to cause cancer.

Keywords

Cancer Genes Burkitt Lymphoma Transforming Gene Rous Sarcoma Virus Helper Gene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter H. Duesberg
    • 1
  • Michael Nunn
    • 2
  • Nancy Kan
    • 3
  • Dennis Watson
    • 3
  • Peter H. Seeburg
    • 4
  • Takis Papas
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Molecular BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.The Salk InstituteSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Molecular OncologyNational Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research FacilityFrederickUSA
  4. 4.Genentech, Inc.South San FranciscoUSA

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