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Childhood Cancer Genetics

Overview

An important development in cancer research over the past 2 decades has been the recognition that genetic changes drive the pathogenesis of tumors of both adulthood and childhood. These changes can be inherited and are, therefore, found in every cell, but more often, they are somatically acquired and restricted to tumor cells. In addition, these alterations affect 3 principal categories of genes, as follows: proto-oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, and DNA repair genes. This article briefly discusses tumor suppressor genes and then focuses on the role of proto-oncogenes in childhood cancer.

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