Analyses of multiple genetic alterations accumulated in each cancer cell is expected to provide useful information to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in tumorigenesis. Here, we summarized the results of studies on aberrations of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes by ourselves and other groups. DNAs analyzed were from particular sets of surgical specimens from human tumors and cancer cell lines derived from non-small cell lung cancers, pancreatic cancers, hepatocellular carcinomas and gliomas. Tumors could be grouped into two types based on the genetic alterations detected. Tumors in group 1 had mutations in genes encoding proteins involved in a limited number of signal transduction cascades such as p16-cyclin D1/CDK4-RB or MDM2-p53-p21, where the aberration of one component seems to be sufficient to cause dysfunction of the cascade. Group 2 contained a subset of tumors in which no alteration was detected in the genes analyzed, even in the advanced stage or established cancer cells, indicating the involvement of completely different oncogenic pathways.
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