Genetic risks

Patients with certain genetic defects are more likely to get cancer— either they have overexpressed oncogenes such as Kras or a mutated tumour suppressor gene such as p53 or Rb. In the aetiology of col-orectal cancer Kras is one of the first of six or more genetic alterations known to accumulate in the malignant progression from normal mucosa through adenoma or polyp to carcinoma. p53 mutations are associated with the last and critical stage. Injection of wild-type p53 into human cultured colorectal cells bearing several genetic alterations leads to reversion to a benign phenotype.

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