Gene amplification in carcinogenesis
Genetics and Molecular Biology. Sociedade Brasileira de Genética, v. 29, n. 1, p. 1-7, 2006.
Silva, Ana Elizabete
Tajara, Eloiza H.
Gene amplification increases the number of genes in a genome and can give rise to karyotype abnormalities called double minutes (DM) and homogeneously staining regions (HSR), both of which have been widely observed in human tumors but are also known to play a major role during embryonic development due to the fact that they are responsible for the programmed increase of gene expression. The etiology of gene amplification during carcinogenesis is not yet completely understood but can be considered a result of genetic instability. Gene amplification leads to an increase in protein expression and provides a selective advantage during cell growth. Oncogenes such as CCND1, c-MET, c-MYC, ERBB2, EGFR and MDM2 are amplified in human tumors and can be associated with increased expression of their respective proteins or not. In general, gene amplification is associated with more aggressive tumors, metastases, resistance to chemotherapy and a decrease in the period during which the patient stays free of the disease. This review discusses the major role of gene amplification in the progression of carcinomas, formation of genetic markers and as possible therapeutic targets for the development of drugs for the treatment of some types of tumors.