chapter  1
11 Pages

General principles

WithF. Macdonald, C.H.J. Ford, A.G. Casson

It has been realized for many years that cancer has a genetic component and at the level of the cell it can be said to be a genetic disease. In 1914, Boveri suggested that an aberration in the genome might be responsible for the origins of cancer. This was subsequently supported by the evidence that cancer, or the risk of cancer, could be inherited; that mutagens could cause tumors in both animals and humans; and that tumors are monoclonal in origin, that is, the cells of a tumor all show the genetic characteristics of the original transformed cell. It is only in recent years that the involvement of specific genes has been demonstrated at the molecular level.