Cancer development requires genetic changes in several different oncogenes and tumor suppressors. Mutated cells occur with any change in the DNA sequence of a cell. Therefore, mistakes may cause mutations during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment. Thus, cancer is a disease of many cellular mutations.
Cellular Mutation Causes
Radiation – Different types of radiation cause different types of genetic changes. Radiation can directly damage DNA or cause chemicals (i.e. reactive oxygen species or ROS) that can damage DNA or other cell components.
Chemical Mutagens – Many different chemicals are known to cause mutations. These chemicals exert their effect by binding to DNA or the building blocks of DNA and interfering with the replication or transcription processes.
Chronic Inflammation – Chronic inflammation can lead to DNA damage due to the production of mutagenic chemicals by the cells of the immune system.
Oxygen Radicals – During the capture of energy from food, which occurs in our mitochondria, chemicals may be generated which are very reactive and are capable of damaging cell membranes and DNA itself.
The Cellular Mutation Process
- A cell is in the process of DNA synthesis
- Many copies of a region of a chromosome
- Transcription of amplified genes
- Translation of amplified genes
- Overproduction of a critical protein leads to the growth of drug-resistant tumors.
- Duplication occurs
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