Proto-oncogenes code for a protein which controls cell growth and differentiation. However, a mutation can cause the proto-oncogene to be constantly activated and therefore uncontrolled cell division occurs. This mutated gene is known as an oncogene. This out of control division can cause cancer.
The oncogene can be turned on due to mutations of the proto-oncogene which are inherited.
However, it is more common for these mutations to be aquired due to:
- One gene activating another because of changes in chromosome arrangement.
- Having to many copies of a gene which causes to much of a certain protein to form.
- ↑ American Cancer Society (2014) Genes and Cancer. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002550-pdf.pdf (Accessed: 27 November 2014).