Encyclopedia of Metagenomics

2015 Edition
| Editors: Sarah K. Highlander, Francisco Rodriguez-Valera, Bryan A. White

Cancer, Definition

  • Peter Um
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-7475-4_106

Cancer is a hypernym describing a diverse class of diseases where cells undergo uncontrolled growth with the potential to become malignant through the acquisition of various aberrant characteristics (i.e., self-sufficiency in growth signals, insensitivity to anti-growth signals, limitless replicative potential, sustained angiogenesis, evasion of apoptosis, deregulation and reprogramming of cellular metabolic pathways, immune evasion, genetic or epigenetic instability, and tumor-promoted inflammation) during their development as a result of genetic or environmental factors (Hanahan and Weinberg 2000, 2011; Dunn et al. 2004; Drake et al. 2006). Acquisition of these characteristics by the tumor leads to infiltration, destruction, and transformation of the surrounding stroma often resulting in metastasis of the neoplasm through the lymphatic or circulatory systems to other organs in the body (Dunn et al. 2004; Drake et al. 2006.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Virology and MicrobiologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA