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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 Jul;64(14):1752-62.

Cancer systems biology: exploring cancer-associated genes on cellular networks.

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Computational Chemistry and Biology Group, Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council Canada, Montreal, Quebec, H4P 2R2, Canada.


Genomic alterations lead to cancer complexity and form a major hurdle for comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying oncogenesis. In this review, we describe recent advances in studying cancer-associated genes from a systems biology point of view. The integration of known cancer genes onto protein and signaling networks reveals the characteristics of cancer genes within networks. This approach shows that cancer genes often function as network hub proteins which are involved in many cellular processes and form focal nodes in information exchange between many signaling pathways. Literature mining allows constructing gene-gene networks, in which new cancer genes can be identified. The gene expression profiles of cancer cells are used for reconstructing gene regulatory networks. By doing so, genes which are involved in the regulation of cancer progression can be picked up from these networks, after which their functions can be further confirmed in the laboratory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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