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Cancer Genes

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  • Last Updated : 27 Jan, 2023
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The human body is a hub of a complex mechanism. Every organ in the body is associated with cell interactions. Like every machine gets affected by some problems, the human body is not different from that. There are several diseases are present in the world. These are diseases that can affect the process of normal body functions. Human civilization has seen many pandemic disease waves. From Spanish flu to the newest Corona pandemic. These diseases infect the human body & destroy their work. But one most significant disease is still not yet resolved nor has any vaccine. This disease is known as Tumorigenesis.

What Is Tumorigenesis?

Tumorigenesis is the process of developing a tumor in the human body. The tumor is an abnormal body cell that is immortal. These cells can grow continuously. Normal cells have a proper limit to growth. But these types of cells don’t have a limit to growth. So, they can able to grow continuously & as they don’t die, they will grow in an unstoppable manner. In this way, these cells develop a cell clot. This cell clot is known as the Tumor. And this overall process is known as Tumorigenesis.

Tumorigenesis has also termed Cancer. Tumorigenesis is the starting indication of Cancer disease. If the Tumorigenesis process doesn’t stop at the very first stage, then it might rise to Cancer disease. Cancer is a disease that affects most people in the world. As Cancer disease has no proper vaccine, so it is hard to remove this disease from any patient. But the rise of Tumorigenesis is not as simple as the common disease. It is completely related to the genes & genetic material of the body.

What are Proto-Oncogenes & Oncogenes?

Genes are associated with the Tumorigenesis process. Genes help to develop the proteins that are used to regulate the growth or death of any cells. Now, if these genes are affected then, there will be a problem in protein function. But it should be understood that every cell in our body has genes. From the cells in the Liver to the cells of the Nervous system (Neurons) all of them have the same genes present in them. This means the cells in the Liver has the gene that regulates the neurotransmission process. And the Neurons have the genes to grow like Liver cells. But these genes are disabled in these areas.

So, the growth genes in the Neuron cell are disabled permanently & the neurotransmitter gene in the Liver is also disabled. So, it is clear that every cell has every type of gene present. Now, some genes are highly vulnerable to foreign agents. This means these genes can show some rare functions with the help of foreign agents. These genes are marked & terms as Proto-Oncogene. This means they can develop cancer disease in the future.

When these genes are transformed & ready to develop a tumor in the body is known as the Oncogene. Oncogenes are very hard to trace. Oncogenes start developing tumors in any of the locations in the body. After tracing the Tumorigenesis process, the presence of Oncogenes can be determined. Chemicals or foreign agents like the Virus acts with these genes and changes their structure & genetic sequences. It hampers the genetic structure of the body. As a result, they start acting differently than in normal conditions.

Agents Affect The Proto-Oncogenes

There are several agents are present in the world that can lead to the Tumorigenesis process. Some occur due to the intake of some chemicals. On the other hand, some occur automatically. This means, in the human body change in the genetic structure can lead to the Tumorigenesis process. This means the change in the genes more specifically on Proto-Oncogenes leads to cancer. So, the agents can be divided into two categories.

  • Foreign Agent or Chemical Agent: These are the agent that is not present in the human body. These agents come from the outside of the body. Sometimes, the human body intakes these chemicals due to a limited time of pleasure. Or sometimes, they infected the body without the need for the body. Sometimes, people intake Alcohol, tobacco, etc. These lead to changes in their genetic structure. Excessive intake of these chemicals will change the genetic structure. And the Proto-Oncogenes become Oncogenes. Sometimes UV Rays or Virus makes changes in the genetic structure. This also causes cancer.
  • Internal Agent or Non-Chemical Agent: These are the factors or the agents that come with time. This means the human body, doesn’t intake them for their pleasure. Age is one of the agents or factors. Due to age, some changes arise in the body. Mainly these changes can be observed in the woman’s body. So, in any special location, the genetic structure might get changed. This change leads to cancer. Sometimes, during the reproduction process when the sperm & egg cells merge. Then due to some genetic structural problem, Oncogenes might get arise in the body of the baby. So, these are agents or factors where there is no control of a human.

Importance of Genes in Tumorigenesis Process

Genes are the most important element in a creature’s body. Not only humans or animals, but genes act as their special feature in the plant body also. So, their influence can’t be defined with some words. Helping them in the inheritance process to the evolution process, genes are the key factor. It can help us in the protein synthesis process. Also, it can lead to a harmful Tumorigenesis process. Changes in genetic structure will lead to Tumorigenesis or cancer. So, genes are the root of this disease. From the Oncogenes the Tumorigenesis process arises. But there is no way to identify the particular gene that becomes the Oncogenes. Also, Oncogenes can affect other genes in the body. So, their importance is great.

Types of Genes Involved in Tumorigenesis

The human body works on two basic things. One is survival & another is death. The ultimate result of every survival body is to be dead. But in the Tumorigenesis process, there is no death system is present. So, the cancerous cell is like to live all the time. For the survival process of any cell, there are two specific genes are present. On the other hand, to regulate the death of the cell, there are also two specific cells present. These four genes play their role in the Tumorigenesis process.

Genes Involved In Survival Of Cells

  • Proliferating Genes: These are the genes present in every cell of the body. The main function of these genes is to make a growth of the cell. Mainly these genes produce a protein that helps to grow the cells. These genes are triggered when there is a need to grow cells more rapidly. Every cell has this gene & a cancerous cell also has these genes. But they use these genes for their benefit.
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene: These are the genes that are present in the cells of the human body. They are the natural genes. They are used as the backup for the tumor creation process. These genes are used to disable the continuous growth of the cells in the body. These genes are also present in cancerous cells. But they are not active.

In normal cells, when there is a need to have growth, the Proliferating Genes start working. They produce proteins to develop more cells. When the need for growth is removed, then the Tumor Suppressor Genes start working. So, it disables the growth of the cells. By using these two genes, cells can survive more times. Now, there are the cells that act on the death of the cells.

Genes Involved in  Death of Cell

  • Apoptotic Genes: These are the genes that are responsible for the death of the cells. When there is no longer a need for an existing cell, these genes start working. These genes produce a protein that destroys the existence of the cell. Hence, this gene is used to remove old incapable cells. The cancerous cells also have these genes. But they are used for their benefit.
  • Anti-Apoptotic Genes: These are the genes that act opposite to the Apoptotic genes. This means these genes can provide a status to the cell as immortal. This means when there is a need to live longer the cell dies to some parameter in the body, and then this gene gets activated. When the cell is dividing this gene is in active form. So that the cell will not die unusually. In the Tumorigenesis process, this gene has a much influence.

Genes Involvement in Tumorigenesis

After getting the details of the working principle of Proliferating Genes, it is time to know some of the prominent examples of the genes that have their major role in the Tumorigenesis process. These are the genes that belong to the above categories. But depending upon their location, the name of these genes is different from each other. As they belong to another group of genes. But their work is the same. And they all can be categorized into different gene groups.

Proliferating Genes

  • Ras Gene: Ras is a special type of gene. These types of genes can able to produce a particular type of protein that helps to proliferate the cells. The name Ras is derived from the name “Rat Sarcoma Virus”. This gene is present mainly in the Pancreas cell. Ras gene is made of six Beta Strands & five delta helices. The moreover structure is similar to the DNA. Ras genes start working with incoming signals. After receiving the signals, it produces proteins that are responsible for the divisions of the cells. If these genes become oncogenes, then without getting the incoming signals, they can able to divide further & hence create Tumorigenesis. These types of genes are responsible for Pancreatic Cancer.
  • Raf Gene: This is another kind of gene. But they also belong to the same category. This means they are also acknowledged as Proliferating genes. Affecting these genes will be raised the cell mass tumor in the body. The presence of these genes can’t be differentiated. These genes are present in nearly all chromosomes & genetic structures in the body. That is the reason this gene is responsible for the most Tumorigenesis process. This is a complex structure of amino acids. There are 648 numbers of amino acids are present. A mutated Raf gene has changes in the amino acid structure. As a result, it helps to execute the continuous growth of the cells in a certain layer.
  • c-Myc Gene: This gene is the most important in the Tumorigenesis process. Scientists recognize this gene as the most vulnerable gene ever. This is considered one of the most fragile proto-oncogenes. As this gene is very much sensitive to changes, any type of change can easily lead to an oncogene in this case. This gene is available in the cells of the Breast, Colon, Lung, Stomach, etc. The most important thing is, this gene can cause lymphocyte cancer. This gene has a basic helix-loop-helix structure. Using this structure, this gene is associated with the DNA layers. These genes influence other genes to become oncogenes. After getting improper mutation, this gene can make a rapid growth of the cells.

Tumor Suppressor Gene

  • p53 Gene: This is the gene that is most important for the lives of the vertebrae. This gene is responsible for the reduction of the Tumorigenesis process. This is the natural backup provided to every living organism to survive cancer. This gene is categorized under the Tumor Suppressor Gene. As this gene regulates the growth of the cell & maintains the proper limit of the growth, that is why it is often termed as “Guardian Of Genomes”. There are certain activation domains present in the gene. But their working principle depends upon the Proliferating Genes. These genes send a special signal to the p53 gene. But an abnormal mutated gene has not the proper place to bind that signal. As a result, these genes can’t stop the cells’ growth. These genes are present in all tissues in the body. As they are very important for survival.
  • pTEN Gene: This gene is also categorized under the Tumor Suppressor Category. This gene is also used to regulate cell growth. But they are not abundant as the p53 gene. These genes are not present in all the tissues of the body. Some areas like Breast, Lung cells have this type of gene. These genes have two domains. One domain produces the protein. And another domain acts as the action domain. From this gene, a phosphates protein is produced. These proteins act on the cell cycle & inhibit them not to grow more rapidly.

Apoptotic Genes & Anti-Apoptotic Genes

  • PRAP-1 Gene: Some of the genes that act on the death circle of the cells play both roles. This means any gene under this category can work as Apoptotic Genes & Anti- Apoptotic Genes. But the PRAP-1 gene is not like a similar category. This gene is only responsible for the Anti-Apoptotic function. This means this gene is only responsible for the long live of the cell. Scientists till now researched this gene topic. More details are not yet available. But, these genes are not present all over the body tissue. Some tissue in the body has this gene. The mutated versions of these genes are the main reason for the creation of immortal cells in the body.
  • Bcl2 Gene: This is the most important gene that helps to maintain the balance of the body. This gene can act as the Apoptotic Gene & Anti- Apoptotic Genes. This means when there is a need to destroy a cell; this gene helps to do that. Also, when there is a need to more grow a cell, it helps to do that without interacting with it. This type of gene is present in all the cells of the body. But its influence can be found in special cells like Breast, Lung, Prostate, etc. Here, this gene helps to remove the chances of Tumorigenesis. It has a basic structure like the genetic sequence & has amino acids. A mutated gene lost the ability to make death in a cell. This means, those genes lost the ability of apoptosis and become the oncogenes. This is the reason for the continuous growth of any cell in the body. This occurs in the Tumorigenesis process.

Genes Functionality Lead To Tumorigenesis

Now, all these four genes have contributed to developing the Tumorigenesis process. These genes’ involvement in the cancerous cell can be easily understood if there is a decent understanding of standard working procedures. All these genes are dependent on each other. Before understanding the gene’s involvement in the Tumorigenesis process, it is needed to understand the normal functionality.

  • In Normal Case: During normal execution of any cell, the Proliferating Genes start their work. This means they will produce proteins that will develop more & more cells in that layer. This means the cell growth will be in rapid form. At that time, another survival gene Tumor Suppressor Gene will be the inactive format. This means they can’t able to do anything. At that time, the Anti-Apoptotic Gene will be in active form & the Apoptotic Gene will be inactive. That helps in the growth of the cells. When the need for cell division is removed, the condition gets changed. In that case, the Tumor Suppressor Gene will get activated & the Proliferating Genes will be disabled. In this way, the whole process goes on.
  • In Tumorigenesis Case: In the case of Tumorigenesis, the whole process goes on abnormally. Here the genes (Proto-Oncogenes) are affected by the chemical of foreign agents. So, their function will be completely different. Here, the Tumor Suppressor Gene will always be inactive. So, they can’t able to do anything. As well as the Apoptotic Genes are always disabled here. So, only the Proliferating Genes & the Anti-Apoptotic Genes will be in active format. As a result, a cell will continuously grow as there is no bound or limit present. As well as the cell will be immortal. As the Apoptotic Genes are disabled there. So, this deadly combination leads to the Tumorigenesis process. Eventually, from the tumor cancer disease will be developed in the body.

FAQs on Genes Involvement in Tumorigenesis

Question 1: What is Tumorigenesis?


Tumorigenesis is a process by which there is a growth of an abnormal cell mass in the body. The cell mass that is developed in the body is termed the Tumor. From that name, the Tumorigenesis name is derived. Tumorigenesis causes cancer disease.

Question 2: What are Proto-Oncogenes?


The genes that are situated in the cell of the human body might sometimes have chances to get affected by some foreign elements. These genes are very vulnerable. These genes are termed Proto-Oncogenes. They are the genes before getting affected by any foreign elements.

Question 3: What are Oncogenes?


When any genes are get affected by foreign elements & their functional changes can be visualized then, they are termed as the Oncogenes. These are the next step of the Proto-Oncogenes. After getting affected by foreign elements, there will be a genetic structure change.

Question 4: Which two genes will always be activated in the Tumorigenesis process?


There are two genes are present in the Tumorigenesis process that will remain in an active format all over time. They are known as the Proliferating Genes for survival & the Anti-Apoptotic Genes for becoming immortal.

Question 5: Which two genes will always be inactivated in the Tumorigenesis process?


There are two genes are present in the Tumorigenesis process that will remain disabled format for all over time. They are known as the Tumor Suppressor Gene & the Apoptotic Genes.

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