The Genetic Basis of Cancer
The human body is composed of about 200 different types of cells that organize into a multitude of tissues. Cancers can arise from nearly all of these cell populations. What we casually refer to as cancer is actually a diverse spectrum of human diseases. The most common cancers in adults are carcinomas, derived from epithelial cells that line body cavities and glands. Sarcomas arise from the mesenchymal tissues that form the connective tissues of the body. Melanomas, retinoblastomas, neuroblastomas and glioblastomas are derived from dividing cells in the ocular retina, immature peripheral neurons and neural support cells known as glia, respectively. Lymphomas and leukemias, sometimes referred to as the ‘liquid tumors’, arise in the tissues that give rise to lymphoid and blood cells. All of these diseases will be collectively referred to as ‘cancer’ throughout this book. The rationale for this simplification is that all of these diverse diseases have a single root cause.
KeywordsCancer Stem Cell Somatic Mutation Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Colorectal Tumor Cancer Gene
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