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Molecular Biology of Specific Diseases

  1. Zhong-Zong Pan,
  2. Andrew K. Godwin

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/3527600906.mcb.200400064

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

How to Cite

Pan, Z.-Z. and Godwin, A. K. 2006. Oncogenes. Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. .

Author Information

  1. Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Oncogenes are cellular or viral genes whose products in altered form and/or greater amount can cause malignant transformation. The hallmarks of cancer cells include loss of control of cell growth and proliferation, loss of control of cell survival and apoptosis, metastasis, and gain of immortality. Oncoproteins, the protein products encoded by oncogenes, could disrupt the normal regulation of these processes at many levels in cell signaling and gene expression. Oncogenes could be divided into these major categories: growth factors and extracellular mitogenic signals, cell surface receptors, proteins associated with inner surface of the plasma membrane, cytoplasmic proteins in various signaling pathways, proteins associated with mitochondria, nuclear proteins, and transcription factors. Instead of being caused by a single gene, malignant transformation from a normal cell to cancer cell is the end-point phenomenon resulting from accumulated genetic and epigenetic alterations. The appropriate combinations or order of altered oncogenes and tumor suppressors are required for different stages of tumor progression. Clinically, oncogenes are important diagnosis biomarkers and therapy targets for cancer.


  • Oncogene;
  • Oncoproteins;
  • Proto-oncogene;
  • Tumor suppressor gene