A continuum model for tumour suppression

Nature. 2011 Aug 10;476(7359):163-9. doi: 10.1038/nature10275.


This year, 2011, marks the forty-year anniversary of the statistical analysis of retinoblastoma that provided the first evidence that tumorigenesis can be initiated by as few as two mutations. This work provided the foundation for the two-hit hypothesis that explained the role of recessive tumour suppressor genes (TSGs) in dominantly inherited cancer susceptibility syndromes. However, four decades later, it is now known that even partial inactivation of tumour suppressors can critically contribute to tumorigenesis. Here we analyse this evidence and propose a continuum model of TSG function to explain the full range of TSG mutations found in cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Haploinsufficiency / genetics
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy