Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • I. Bernard Weinstein
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_843-2


Carcinogenesis is the process by which cancer develops in various tissues in the body.


In most cases, carcinogenesis occurs via a stepwise process that can encompass a major fraction of the lifespan (multistep development). These progressive stages often include hyperplasia, dysplasia, metaplasia, benign tumors, and then, eventually, malignant tumors. Malignant tumors can also undergo further progression to become more invasive and metastatic, autonomous of hormones and growth factors, and resistant to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.


Known causes of carcinogenesis include various chemicals or mixture of chemicals present in several sources. This includes cigarette smoke; diet; workplace or general environment; ultraviolet and ionizing radiation; specific viruses, bacteria, and parasites; and endogenous factors (oxidative DNA damage, DNA depurination, deamination). According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 69 agents, mixtures,...


Tumor Suppressor Gene Stepwise Process Carcinogenic Process Specific Hormone Covalent Adduct 
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See Also

  1. (2012) Mutagenic. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, p 2412. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_3909Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Bernard Weinstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA