Cancer is the result of incidental changes in single cells of theorganism. Initial mutational events in proto-oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes and DNA mismatch repair genes playa key role. Physiologically, these genes coordinate the sequences of cell cycle and guarantee the integrity of genetic information also during cell growth and proliferation. Even thefunctional defect of a single gene can constitute cells that are,by means of higher proliferation rate and/or loss of DNA repair mechanism, in a state of genetic instability. This initiatesa continuous cycle of repeated selection events which finallymight produce cell lineages which grow out as overt cancer.The fundamental findings of molecular oncology provide atremendous reservoir for new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in surgical oncology.

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