Biochemistry-Not Oncogenes-May Demystify and Defeat Cancer

Oncol Ther. 2023 Jun;11(2):153-169. doi: 10.1007/s40487-023-00221-y. Epub 2023 Feb 13.


The presence of mutated genes strongly correlates with the incidence of cancer. Decades of research, however, has not yielded any specific causative gene or set of genes for the vast majority of cancers. The Cancer Genome Atlas program was supposed to provide clarity, but it only gave much more data without any accompanying insight into how the disease begins and progresses. It may be time to notice that epidemiological studies consistently show that the environment, not genes, has the principal role in causing cancer. Since carcinogenic chemicals in our food, drink, air, and water are the primary culprits, we need to look at the biochemistry of cancer, with a focus on enzymes that invariably facilitate transformations in a cell. In particular, attention should be paid to the rate-limiting enzyme in DNA synthesis, ribonucleotide reductase (RnR), whose activity is tightly linked to tumor growth. Besides circumstantial evidence that cancer is induced at this enzyme's vulnerable free-radical-containing active site by various carcinogens, its role in initiating retinoblastoma and human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cervical cancers has been well documented in recent years. Blocking the activity of malignant RnR is a certain way to arrest cancer.

Keywords: Cancer treatment; Carcinogenesis; Cervical cancer; DNA synthesis; Free radical; Retinoblastoma; Ribonucleotide reductase (RnR); Somatic mutation theory (SMT).

Publication types

  • Review