Biological Bases for Genetic Risk Testing
The ability to test an individual for his or her genetic risk for development of cancer is a new technique that has been added to the arsenal against cancer. An understanding of the basis of genetic testing for cancer predisposition requires an understanding of the genetic basis of cancer. The genetic defects that result in the formation of a tumor are the same for inherited as well as sporadic cancers. This chapter discusses the different pathways leading to cancer formation, the cellular genes most often involved in the development of cancer, and the major mechanisms that our body uses to protect us from cancer development. It also discusses several examples of dominant genetic mutations that result in increased predispositions to certain cancers.