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Cancer genetics

Part 1. Genetics

1.6. Genetic Medicine and Clinical Genetics

Basic Techniques and Approaches

  1. Katherine A. Schneider1,
  2. Kelly J. Branda1,
  3. Anu B. Chittenden1,
  4. Kristen M. Shannon2

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g106420

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Schneider, K. A., Branda, K. J., Chittenden, A. B. and Shannon, K. M. 2005. Cancer genetics. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 1:1.6:88.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA

  2. 2

    Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


Hereditary cancer syndrome account for about 5–10% of cancer cases. The three classes of genes that are highly important in the development of cancer are termed tumor suppressor genes, DNA repair genes, and proto-oncogenes. Germline mutations in any of these genes can lead to increased susceptibility to cancer. Over 200 cancer syndromes have been identified, but most are rare. Features of 12 hereditary cancer syndromes are listed in this article, and two syndromes – hereditary breast/ovarian cancer syndrome and hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer syndrome (HNPCC) – are described in detail. Cancer genetic counseling is a communication process concerning an individual's risks of developing specific inherited forms of cancer. Cancer genetic counseling sessions include collecting detailed family histories, providing risk assessments, discussing follow-up medical options, and arranging genetic testing, if appropriate.


  • cancer genetics;
  • tumor suppressor genes;
  • oncogenes;
  • DNA repair genes;
  • hereditary cancer syndromes;
  • breast ovarian cancer syndrome;
  • hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer;
  • genetic counseling