Oncogenes and cancer: clinical applications
Andrew J. Fishleder, MDAddress reprint requests to A.J.F., Department of Laboratory Hematology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, One Clinic Center, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195.
Oncogenes are aberrant forms of proto-oncogenes, which are normal cellular genes that participate in cell growth and development; proto-oncogenes contribute to tumor formation when mutations or chromosomal translocation cause them to escape normal controls. Anti-oncogenes, also involved in neoplasm development, normally participate in inhibition of cell growth and proliferation; they become tumorigenic when mutations alter their function. Oncogene or anti-oncogene abnormalities have been characterized for a variety of tumors, with resulting clinical applications. In some forms of leukemia, for example, determining the presence or absence of the bcr-abl gene rearrangement has both diagnostic and prognostic value. The best-studied anti-oncogene is that found in retinoblastoma. Molecular techniques can differentiate the hereditary from the nonhereditary form of this disease and, with hereditary retinoblastoma, predict disease likelihood in family members.