Cancer is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Cancer arises due to a series of somatic mutations that accumulate within the nucleus of a cell which enable the cell to proliferate in an unregulated manner. These mutations arise as a result of both endogenous and exogenous factors. Genes that are commonly mutated in cancer cells are involved in cell cycle regulation, growth and proliferation. It is known that both nature and nurture play important roles in cancer development through complex gene-environment interactions; however, the exact mechanism of these interactions in carcinogenesis is presently unclear. Key environmental factors that play a role in carcinogenesis include smoking, UV light and oncoviruses. Angiogenesis, inflammation and altered cell metabolism are important factors in carcinogenesis and are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Although the exact mechanism of nature-nurture interactions in solid tumour formation are not yet fully understood, it is evident that neither nature nor nurture can be considered in isolation. By understanding more about gene-environment interactions, it is possible that cancer mortality could be reduced.
Keywords: Cancer; Carcinogenesis; Gene-environment; Mutations; Oncogenes; Tumour suppressor genes.
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