The adenoma-carcinoma sequence refers to a stepwise pattern of mutational activation of oncogenes (eg. K-ras) and inactivation of tumour suppressor genes (eg. p53) that result in cancer. An oncogene is a gene that has the potential to cause cancer. In tumor cells, these are often mutated or expressed at high levels. A tumour suppressor gene is a gene that is involved in dampening the cell cycle or promotion of apoptosis or both. Examples include p53 (eg. osteosarcoma, endometrial carcinoma and many others), DNA repair proteins (eg. HNPCC, MEN, BRCA).
- Kumar, V; Cotran, R.S., Robbins, S.L. Robbins Basic Pathology, 7e