A census of human cancer genes

Nat Rev Cancer. 2004 Mar;4(3):177-83. doi: 10.1038/nrc1299.


A central aim of cancer research has been to identify the mutated genes that are causally implicated in oncogenesis (‘cancer genes’). After two decades of searching, how many have been identified and how do they compare to the complete gene set that has been revealed by the human genome sequence? We have conducted a ‘census’ of cancer genes that indicates that mutations in more than 1% of genes contribute to human cancer. The census illustrates striking features in the types of sequence alteration, cancer classes in which oncogenic mutations have been identified and protein domains that are encoded by cancer genes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genes / genetics*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Oncogenes / genetics