The Oncogene and Tumor Suppressor Concept to Explain Cancer as an Age-Dependent Disease
Cancer is a complex disease with a variety of contributing factors that make the disease age-dependent. One of the main concepts used to explain this is the oncogene and tumour suppressor concept. Oncogenes are genes that are mutated or overexpressed and promote cancer growth, while tumour suppressors are genes that are mutated or under-expressed and can lead to cancer when inactivated. These two sets of genes interact with each other, and when their balance is disturbed, cancer can result. Heavy smokers or industrial workers exposed for a limited time to a chemical carcinogen that induces mutation in DNA do not usually begin to develop cancer characteristics of their habit or occupation until 10, 20, or even more years after the exposure. This long delay is thought to be due to the gradual accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes that occur as a result of the carcinogen. It is believed that these changes can result in the activation of oncogenes or the inactivation of tumour suppressors, which can lead to the development of cancer (Nguyen et al., 2020). Cont…
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