Growth Factors and Neoplasia

  • George K. Michalopoulos


Function and growth are two interrelated aspects of life in all organisms. Whereas function permits manifestation of the specific aspects and life patterns of all organisms, growth is the essential process that guarantees the continuity of life. Growth occurs at the level of organismal populations or cell populations within an organism. Regulation of the phenomenon of growth has been a central point of scientific investigation since ancient times. The rapidity of embryonic growth has always fascinated investigators in the biologic sciences. Whereas regulated normal growth is essential for maintenance of life, aberrations of growth characterize several aspects of disease. Aberrant growth is a hallmark of the neoplastic process. The foundations of modern research in oncology were laid down on the premise that the cause of neoplasia could be shown by comparing the growth of normal and neoplastic tissues. Comparisons were made of the growth between regenerating liver and hepatocellular carcinomas as well as of the growth of normal skin and skin papillomas and squamous cell carcinomas. These studies have now expanded to many normal and neoplastic cell systems and have received added impetus with the realization that the growth of normal cells is a highly regulated process. The essential regulatory controls have been intensely investigated during the past 15 years. As a result of these investigations, we understand that cells are stimulated to grow in response to specific chemical messages. These messages are produced by other cells located remotely or adjacent to the responding cell. Occasionally, these messages are produced by the growing cells themselves. The term Growth Factors has been coined to describe collectively the chemical substances that constitute the signals that regulate in a positive or negative manner the growth of cells.


Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Epidermal Growth Factor Nerve Growth Factor Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor Intracellular Domain 
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 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • George K. Michalopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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