Does the ribosome translate cancer?

Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Mar;3(3):179-92. doi: 10.1038/nrc1015.


Ribosome biogenesis and translation control are essential cellular processes that are governed at numerous levels. Several tumour suppressors and proto-oncogenes have been found either to affect the formation of the mature ribosome or to regulate the activity of proteins known as translation factors. Disruption in one or more of the steps that control protein biosynthesis has been associated with alterations in the cell cycle and regulation of cell growth. Therefore, certain tumour suppressors and proto-oncogenes might regulate malignant progression by altering the protein synthesis machinery. Although many studies have correlated deregulation of protein biosynthesis with cancer, it remains to be established whether this translates directly into an increase in cancer susceptibility, and under what circumstances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Nucleolus / physiology
  • Cell Size
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Forecasting
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor*
  • Genes, cdc
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / physiology
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogenes*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / biosynthesis
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / physiology
  • Ribosomal Proteins / physiology
  • Ribosomes / physiology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / physiology
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / physiology


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase