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Croat Med J. 2005 Aug;46(4):622-38.

Deregulation of cell growth and malignant transformation.

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Department of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology, Rijeka University School of Medicine, Brace Branchetta 20, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia.


Cell growth and cell division are fundamental aspects of cell behavior in all organisms. Recent insights from many model organisms have shed light on the molecular mechanisms that control cell growth and cell division. A significant body of evidence has now been accumulated, showing a direct link between deregulation of components of cell cycle machinery and cancer. In addition, defects in one or more steps that control growth are important for malignant transformation, as many tumor suppressors and proto-oncogenes have been found to regulate cell growth. The importance of cell growth in tumor development is further supported by the discovery that rapamycin, an effective anticancer drug, inhibits a key regulator of protein synthetic machinery and cell growth, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). In most cases, cell growth and cell division are coupled, thereby maintaining cell size within physiological limits. We believe that, in a long-term perspective, understanding how these two processes are coordinated in vivo and how their interplay is deregulated in a number of diseases, including cancer, may have a direct impact on the efficiency of modern therapeutics.

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