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Trends Genet. 2001 Jun;17(6):339-45.

Fragile and unstable chromosomes in cancer: causes and consequences.

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Centre for Medical Genetics, Women's and Children's Hospital, North Adelaide SA 5006, Australia.


Cancer cells commonly exhibit various forms of genetic instability, such as changes in chromosome copy number, translocations and point mutations in particular genes. Although transmissible change seems to be an essential part of the neoplastic process, the extent to which DNA instability is a cause rather than a consequence of cancer is unclear. Chromosomal fragile sites have been proposed to be not only susceptible to DNA instability in cancer cells, but also associated with genes that contribute to the neoplastic process. Mutation at fragile site loci might therefore have a causative role in cancer. Recent studies on one class of human chromosomal fragile sites show that instability at fragile site loci can functionally contribute to tumor cell biology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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