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Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics

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Review- Cancer: Some genetic considerations

MSZ Salem

Abstract


Malignant transformation of normal cells to cancer cells represents an enigmatic phenomenon because of the many ambiguous controversies embodied within most of its aspects. Within a clinical context, cancer, with very few exceptions, is a dreadful disease that ends lethally. Within a biological context, however, cancer is a peculiar biosystem that has its own rules that regulate the actions/interactions/structure and behavior of its components. Unfortunately, the majority of these rules are, still, unknown.
The current disappointing situation as regards research trials aiming at constructing effective treatments for cancer might be attributed, in part, to incomplete recognition of the significant differences between these two contexts of malignant transformation. Although the peculiar characteristics of cancer as a self-dependent biosystem are well studied and well defined, the basic dilemma of malignant transformation continues to exist: we know, largely, how things happen but we do not know, to any extent, why they happen.
Though the logic that motivates researches aiming at formulating genetic therapies for cancer is quite reasonable, as cancer is primarily a genetic alteration, lack of essential basic knowledge regarding the different aspects of this alteration adjourn successful radical cure of cancer. Till comprehensive disclosure of the underlying mechanisms regulating growth/progression/metastasis and survival of malignant cells is attained, treatments of cancer based on different strategic concepts, viz. proteomic therapies rather than genetic therapies, might, hopefully, be the best approaches available in the fight against cancer in the current as well as in the coming era.

Keywords: Cancer; Temporal imprinting; Malignant transformation; Malignant phenotype; Genomic reprograming; Genomic involution; Evolutionary paradox; Metastasis; Oncoproteome; Cancer therapy; Oncogenome




http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmhg.2014.09.003
AJOL African Journals Online