This chapter discusses the mechanics of genomic instability and the way the phenotype of genomic instability predisposes to cancer and accelerates tumor progression. The large number of genomic instability genes suggests that the probability of some people in the human population carrying a recessive mutation in a genomic instability gene is high. Cell size and cell death affect the number of genomic instability mutations that are expected in a tumor. The impact of individual genomic instability mutations on tumor progression is dependent upon active cell division. Some examples of disruption of these pathways leading to genomic instability are also considered in the chapter by a selective survey of cellular mechanisms involved in maintaining genomic stability. The large number of components involved in those mechanisms may increase the likelihood that disruption of normal genomic stability mechanisms will occur during a normal lifespan and during the growth of benign neoplasms. Various factors that can affect the frequency of genomic instability mutations are also considered in the chapter. These mechanisms suggest ways to delay or prevent certain types of cancer. The genomic alterations identified in human cancers can be viewed by cellular pathways dedicated to the maintenance of genomic stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-156
Number of pages36
JournalAdvances in Cancer Research
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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