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Chromosomal Translocations in Cancer

Learn how chromosomal translocations can cause cancer and what researchers are doing to understand and prevent it.
2023-01-09

Review of Chromosomal Translocations in Cancer

Chromosomal translocations are one of the most common types of genetic alterations observed in cancer. This review will provide an overview of the characteristics of chromosomal translocations and their role in cancer pathology.

Characteristics of Chromosomal Translocations

Chromosomal translocations are a type of genetic alteration in which genetic material is exchanged between two different chromosomes. This leads to the fusion of two previously separate genes, which can give rise to a new gene product with altered or novel function. Translocations can affect any type of chromosome, including autosomal and sex chromosomes, and can be either balanced or unbalanced. Balanced translocations involve an even exchange of genetic material between the two chromosomes, while unbalanced translocations involve an unequal exchange.

Chromosomal translocations can occur throughout the entire genome, but are most commonly observed in regions of the genome that are prone to rearrangements, such as regions containing repetitive sequences. Chromosomal translocations can also be recurrent, meaning they are observed in multiple individuals and can be used to classify certain types of cancer.

Role of Chromosomal Translocations in Cancer Pathology

Chromosomal translocations are highly associated with cancer and can be used to help classify certain types of cancer. Translocations can lead to the formation of oncogenes, which are genes that can cause the development of cancer. These oncogenes can be formed through a variety of mechanisms, including the fusion of two previously separate genes to form a new gene product, or the mobilization of an existing gene, resulting in its overexpression.

Chromosomal translocations can also lead to the formation of tumor suppressor genes, which are genes that normally suppress the growth of cancer cells. These tumor suppressor genes can be inactivated through a variety of mechanisms, including the deletion of a portion of the gene, the inactivation of the gene through mutation, or the fusion of the gene with another gene.

Examples of Chromosomal Translocations in Cancer

One of the most common types of chromosomal translocations observed in cancer is the Philadelphia chromosome, which is a translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22. This translocation is observed in approximately 95% of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cases and results in the formation of a new gene, BCR-ABL, which is an oncogene that leads to the development of CML.

Another common type of chromosomal translocation is the t(14;18) translocation, which is observed in approximately 70% of follicular lymphoma cases. This translocation results in the fusion of two genes, BCL2 and IGH, which leads to the overexpression of the BCL2 gene and the formation of an oncogene.

A third example of a chromosomal translocation is the t(11;14) translocation, which is observed in approximately 15-20% of mantle cell lymphoma cases. This translocation results in the fusion of two genes, CCND1 and IGH, which leads to the overexpression of the CCND1 gene and the formation of an oncogene.

Conclusion

Chromosomal translocations are a type of genetic alteration in which genetic material is exchanged between two different chromosomes. This leads to the fusion of two previously separate genes, which can give rise to a new gene product with altered or novel function. Chromosomal translocations are highly associated with cancer and can be used to help classify certain types of cancer. Examples of chromosomal translocations in cancer include the Philadelphia chromosome, t(14;18) translocation, and t(11;14) translocation.

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