Tumor-suppressor genes versus Proto-oncogenes

Health care management






Topic 3. Tumor-suppressor genes versus Proto-oncogenes

According to (Inamura, 2017), a tumor-suppressor gene is a gene that is responsible for slowing down the division of cells. It is also responsible for fixings the mistakes found in the DNA or identifying the right time for cells to decompose. The process the cells take to decompose is usually called apoptosis or programmed cell death. However, (Beroukhim, Zhang & Meverson, 2017) shares that unlike the tumor- processor genes, the pro-oncogenes are genes that are responsible for helping cells to grow or multiply.

A tumor-suppressor gene is most referenced as a brake pedal. This is because it’s work is to ensure that the cells do not distribute or separate from each other fast. However, a pro-oncogene is usually referenced as a gas pedal. Like the function of the gas pedal of a car, its work is to aid or assist cell growth and division. Thus the basic difference between the two is that a proto-oncogene causes cancer when oncogene is activated and tumor-suppressor causes cancer when it becomes inactive and cells grow rapidly. (Inamura, 2017)

(Beroukhim, Zhang & Meverson, 2017) shares that in cases where the proto-oncogene go through changes or mutation or when it has several duplicates, then it is said to be a bad or spoilt gene. This is because at this level, the proto-oncogene have lost its control and can be permanently turned on or made active when it’s not necessary for them to operate. Thus this leads to continuous cell growth that is usually out of control and can cause cancer. The bad or spoilt gene that goes through mutation or form a replica of the proto-oncogene is called the oncogene.

The mutations of the proto-oncogene that lead to the activations of the oncogenes and form cancer syndromes are usually acquired and not inherited. Some of the cancer syndromes that lead to activation of oncogenes are the rearrangement of chromosomes and replication of a gene. When rearrangement of chromosomes occur, chromosomes usually change their position. This is done when one gene gets placed next to the other and gives room to activate the other. However, replication of a gene is when there are several identical genes that can cause a specific protein to be made repeatedly. (Beroukhim, Zhang & Meverson, 2017)

(Inamura, 2017) shares that when the tumor-suppressor genes fail to function by slowing the growth of cells, the cells tend to grow rapidly and out of control. This poses a higher risk of cancer. However, the tumor-suppressor genes can be inherited but they are mostly achieved when the cells grow quickly and out of control. When abnormal tumor-suppressor gene is inherited among family members they are likely to have cancer syndromes.


K Inamura. (2017), Major tumor suppressor and oncogenic non-coding RNAs, Clinical relevance in lung cancer

R Beroukhim, X Zhang, M Meverson. (2017), Copy of alterations unmasked as enhancer hijackers, Nature genetics