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at the methodical meeting
Department of Ray diagnostics,
Ray therapy and Oncology
Head of the department
As. of Prof., M.S.D. Kostyuk A.G.
"______" ________ 2013 year
For self-study for students in preparing for the practical (seminary) lessons
Subject of Study
Module No
Theme №
Topic of Lesson
General questions of oncology.
A concept about tumour and tumour process.
Epidemiology and etiology of tumours. Stages of
General Medicine
1. Topicality. Tumour, also spelled tumor, also called neoplasm, a mass of
abnormal tissue that arises without obvious cause from preexisting body cells, has no
purposeful function, and is characterized by a tendency to independent and
unrestrained growth. Tumours are quite different from inflammatory or other
swellings because the cells in tumours are abnormal in appearance and other
characteristics. Abnormal cells—the kind that generally make up tumours—differ
from normal cells in having undergone one or more of the following alterations: (1)
hypertrophy, or an increase in the size of individual cells; this feature is occasionally
encountered in tumours but occurs commonly in other conditions; (2) hyperplasia, or
an increase in the number of cells within a given zone; in some instances it may
constitute the only criterion of tumour formation; (3) anaplasia, or a regression of the
physical characteristics of a cell toward a more primitive or undifferentiated type; this
is an almost constant feature of malignant tumours, though it occurs in other
instances both in health and in disease.
2. Learning Objectives:
1. A concept about tumour.
2. A concept about tumour process.
3. Risk factors.
4. Epidemiology of tumours.
5. Etiology of tumours. Studies about cancerogens.
6. Chemical and physical cancerogens
7. Cancerogenic viruses and viral theory of tumour growth.
8. Malignant tumours and heredity.
9. Genetic theory.
10. Phases of malignant transformation
11. Initiation is an initial stage of cancerogenesis
12. Promotion.
13. Progression.
General questions of oncology.
In some instances the cells of a tumour are normal in appearance; the
differences between them and normal body cells can be discerned only with some
difficulty. Such tumours are more often benign than not. Other tumours are composed
of cells that appear different from normal adult types in size, shape, and structure;
they usually belong to tumours that are malignant. Such cells may be bizarre in form
or may be arranged in a distorted manner. In more extreme cases, the cells of
malignant tumours are described as primitive, or undifferentiated, because they have
lost the appearance and functions of the particular type of (normal) specialized cell
that was their predecessor. As a rule, the less differentiated a malignant tumour’s
cells are, the more quickly the tumour may be expected to grow.
Malignancy refers to the ability of a tumour ultimately to cause death. Any tumour,
either benign or malignant in type, may produce death by local effects if it is
appropriately situated. The common and more specific definition of malignancy
implies an inherent tendency of the tumour’s cells to metastasize (invade the body
widely and become disseminated by subtle means) and eventually to kill the patient
unless all the malignant cells can be eradicated.
Metastasis is thus the outstanding characteristic of malignancy. Metastasis is
the tendency of tumour cells to be carried from their site of origin by way of the
circulatory system and other channels, which may eventually establish these cells in
almost every tissue and organ of the body. In contrast, the cells of a benign tumour
invariably remain in contact with each other in one solid mass centred on the site of
origin. Because of the physical continuity of benign tumour cells, they may be
removed completely by surgery if the location is suitable. But the dissemination of
malignant cells, each one individually possessing (through cell division) the ability to
give rise to new tumours in new and distant sites, requires complete eradication by a
single surgical procedure in all but the earliest period of growth.
A mass of tumour cells usually constitutes a definite localized swelling that, if
it occurs on or near the surface of the body, can be felt as a lump. Deeply placed
tumours, however, may not be palpable. Some tumours, and particularly malignant
ones, may appear as ulcers, hardened cracks or fissures, wartlike projections, or a
diffuse, ill-defined infiltration of what appears to be an otherwise normal organ or
Pain is a variable symptom with tumours. It most commonly results from the
growing tumour pressing on adjacent nerve tracts. In their early stages all tumours
tend to be painless, and those that grow to a large size without interfering with local
functions may remain painless. Eventually, however, most malignant tumours cause
pain by the direct invasion of nerves or the destruction of bone.
All benign tumours tend to remain localized at the site of origin. Many benign
tumours are enclosed by a capsule consisting of connective tissue derived from the
structures immediately surrounding the tumour. Well-encapsulated tumours are not
anchored to their surrounding tissues. These benign tumours enlarge by a gradual
buildup, pushing aside the adjacent tissues without involving them intimately.
Malignant tumours, by contrast, do not usually possess a capsule; they invade the
surrounding tissues, making surgical removal more difficult or risky.
A benign tumour may undergo malignant transformation, but the cause of such
change is unknown. It is also possible for a malignant tumour to remain quiescent,
mimicking a benign one clinically, for a long time. The regression of a malignant
tumour to benign is unknown.
Among the major types of benign tumours are the following: lipomas, which
are composed of fat cells; angiomas, which are composed of blood or lymphatic
vessels; osteomas, which arise from bone; chondromas, which arise from cartilage;
and adenomas, which arise from glands. For malignant tumours, see cancer. For plant
tumours, see gall.
What Is Cancer?
The disease we call cancer has been around as long as we have. Evidence of
cancerous growths, or tumors, has been found among fossilized bones and in human
mummies dating from ancient Egypt. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (hiPOK-ra-tees) was the first to use the word "carcinoma" (kar-si-NO-ma) to describe
various kinds of tumors. Hippocrates noted that parts sticking out from some tumors
looked like the limbs of a crab. The word "cancer" comes from the Latin word for
crab. In 1913, only one in nine people had a chance of being alive five years after a
diagnosis of cancer. Today, depending on the cancer, more than 50 percent of people
with cancer will survive the disease. For many types of cancer, early detection and
treatment result in a normal lifespan.
In all forms of cancer, cells grow out of control and may spread. In the United
States, half of all men and one third of all women will develop one type of cancer or
another during their lifetime. Almost everyone knows someone who has had cancer,
and it is natural for children to worry that they might get it. But cancer in children is
very rare. Some cancers are more common than others. The cancers that adults get
most frequently are cancers of the skin, lungs, and colon and rectum. Breast cancer is
a common cancer among women. Childhood cancers include leukemia (loo-KEEmee-ya), lymphoma (lim-FO-ma), brain cancer, and osteosarcoma (os-tee-o-sarKOME-a) (bone cancer). Cancer is sometimes referred to as a malignancy or a
malignant tumor.
How Does Cancer Begin?
With more than 100 types of cancer, the disease can arise in almost any part of
the body. Each cancer is different, but they all start the same way. A healthy body is
home to more than 10 trillion cells (at least 100 times as many stars as there are in the
entire Milky Way galaxy). Just as neighbors cooperate to maintain an orderly
community, cells usually grow, divide, and die in a controlled fashion. But cancer
cells are renegades, bad neighbors in the cellular community. Cancer begins when a
single cell starts to multiply inappropriately.
What turns a good cell bad? The operating instructions for everything that our
cells do are contained in the genes, packets of information that we inherit from our
parents. Genes are made of a substance called DNA. The function of genes is to make
proteins, the building blocks of life that carry out the work of the genes. When a gene
inside a cell is switched on, the cell starts producing the required protein. Sometimes
genes become altered, and we say they have mutated. Mutations in a gene can affect
how the gene works; for example, a mutated gene might produce too much of a
protein, or perhaps none at all.
Life proceeds by cell growth and division, and this process is directed by a
collection of genes whose proteins work like traffic cops to encourage growth, or to
halt it. When these genes become mutated, the proteins they make may erroneously
tell cells to continue growing, like a traffic light stuck on green. The mutated genes
are called oncogenes. Normal cells with damaged DNA die. But cancer cells with
damaged DNA may not.
Many tumors need 30 to 40 years to develop, which explains why children
rarely get cancer. But it is possible for a person to inherit a mutant cancer-causing
gene. When that happens, people sometimes get cancer at an earlier age.
Genes can undergo mutations as a result of cancer-causing substances called
carcinogens (kar-SIN-o-jens) in the environment as well as chemicals in our own
cells. Another source of mutations is copying mistakes that occur when DNA is
replicated during cell division. Cells normally have repair systems to correct such
errors. But when the repair system slips up, the damage becomes a permanent part of
that cell and of the cell's descendants. If a person has a faulty repair system,
mutations in the genes will build up rapidly, making the cells more likely to become
cancerous. Faulty repair plays a role in certain kinds of colon, skin, and breast
The body's defenses are impressive, and it is difficult for cancer to get started.
But imagine that a renegade cell has managed to evade every one of the cell's
checkpoints and has formed a tumor. Now what? To grow larger than a millimeter
(about the size of a pinhead), a tumor needs a blood supply, so it sends out a chemical
signal to cause blood vessels to grow.
How Does Cancer Spread?
Normal cells do not wander. But some types of cancer cells do, which is what
makes them so dangerous. The process is called metastasis (meh-TAS-ta-sis).
Although it may be fairly easy to remove the main, or primary, tumor in cancer,
metastasis cannot usually be cured by surgery alone.
In order for cancer to spread to other parts of the body, it must detach from its
original location, invade a blood vessel, travel through the circulation to a far-away
site, and set up a new cellular colony. At every one of these steps, it must outsmart
the many controls the body has to keep cells where they belong.
New techniques show that abnormal cells from a tumor often are circulating
even when doctors can find no evidence of spread. We call this undetectable spread
micrometastasis (MY-kro-meh-TAS-ta-sis). Once a cancer cell has found a new
home, it must reverse all the steps it took in liberating itself. It has to attach to the
inner lining of a blood vessel, cross through it, invade the tissue beyond, and
multiply. Probably fewer than 1 in 1,000,000 of the cancer cells that make it into the
bloodstream survive to take up residence elsewhere.
Cancer cells "prefer" small blood vessels, and the first small blood vessels a
freed cancer cell encounters are those of the lungs. So the lungs are the most common
site of spread for cancer, followed by the liver. Much of how cancer spreads is still a
mystery. Some tissues—for example, cartilage and brain tissue—seem more resistant
to cancer. And some animals almost never have cancer.
What Causes Cancer?
A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of getting a disease.
But having a risk factor does not mean that a person will get the disease for sure.
People get cancer as a result of a complex set of interactions between their genes and
the environment. We are just beginning to understand these reactions.
Tobacco is a lethal cancer-causing substance. It causes 30 percent of total
cancer deaths every year in the United States, affecting the lungs and other organs of
the body. Almost all lung cancer is the result of smoking. The younger a person starts
to smoke, the greater the risk of cancer.
The U.S. and the World
The U.S. National Cancer Institute says that 8.4 million people—about 3
percent of the population in 1999—have a history of cancer. The death rates for most
major cancers have declined since the 1970s, because of earlier detection and better
treatment. About 2 million women are breast cancer survivors and 1 million men are
prostate cancer survivors.
Still, cancers killed 539,577 Americans in 1997. This accounted for 23 percent
of all deaths that year, making cancer the second leading cause of death after heart
disease. Lung cancer caused the majority of the cancer deaths (29 percent), followed
by stomach cancer (23.5 percent).
Each year, about 150 of every 1 million Americans under age 20 will be
diagnosed with cancer. But the chances for surviving at least five years with cancer
increased for children between the early 1980s (64 percent survived) and the early
1990s (74 percent). That is better than the five-year survival rate for all cancers,
which was about 60 percent in the 1990s.
Worldwide, cancer caused an estimated 7.2 million deaths in 1998, which
accounts for 13 percent of all deaths. Lung cancer was the leading cause, accounting
for 17 percent of all cancer deaths.
Cancer deaths worldwide have increased slightly since 1993, when about 6
million people died of cancer. That represented 12 percent of all deaths worldwide in
About 81 million people worldwide were living with cancer in 1998. The
World Health Organization (WHO) expects the prevalence of cancer cases to increase
in the first 25 years of the twenty-first century in developing nations.
The World Health Organization estimates about 15 million new cases of cancer
will develop in the year 2020, compared with 10 million new cases a year in the late
1990s. Reasons include increased smoking in developing nations, unhealthy diets,
and more people living to old age, when cancer risk is higher.
The World Health Organization estimated in the mid-1990s that 15 percent of
all cancers worldwide could be prevented by controlling infections. For example,
more than 400,000 cases of liver cancer were tied to infection with hepatitis in the
mid-1990s. Parasites in food also can lead to stomach cancers.
Other trends to watch between 1999 and 2025, according to WHO: Lung
cancer and colorectal cancer cases and deaths will increase, largely because of
increased smoking and unhealthy diet. Women will die in higher numbers from lung
cancer in almost all industrialized countries. Stomach cancer is expected to become
less common, because of improved food conservation, changes in diet, and declining
infection. Cervical cancer is predicted to decrease in industrialized countries because
of increased screening and it might decrease in the developed world if a vaccine is
developed. And, finally, liver cancer will decrease as the rates of immunization and
screenings for hepatitis increase.
Food and alcohol
In the United States, diet has been associated with certain cancers, particularly
diets containing high amounts of animal (saturated) fat and red meat. After years of
studies, coffee has not been proved to cause cancer, nor have artificial sweeteners.
Eating insufficient quantities of fruits and vegetables appears to contribute to cancer,
for reasons no one understands. It may be that fruits and vegetables help to block the
cancer-causing effects of our own bodies. Drinking large amounts of alcohol
increases the risk of cancer of the upper respiratory and digestive tracts, and alcoholic
liver disease can lead to liver cancer. Even moderate drinking may contribute to
breast and colon and rectal cancer.
Some forms of radiation cause cancer. But most cancer deaths from radiation
are caused by natural sources such as the sun's ultraviolet rays. For example,
sunburns during childhood are a key factor in causing a kind of skin cancer called
melanoma (mel-a-NO-ma). But electric power lines, household appliances, and
cellular telephones have so far not been proven to cause cancer. Radiation from
nuclear materials and reactions does cause cancer, but most people are not exposed to
levels high enough to harm them.
In the past, some people who worked with certain chemical substances such as
asbestos (az-BES-tos) and benzene (BEN-zeen) had a greater chance of getting lung
cancers and other kinds of cancers. But strict government regulations have limited the
use of these substances and sharply reduced the numbers of these cancers.
American Cancer Society
The American Society for the Control of Cancer (ASCC) was founded in 1911
to educate the public about the dangers of cancer. In 1943, Mary Lasker, the wife of
an advertising tycoon who himself would die of cancer, walked into the office of
Clarence C. Little, the managing director of the ASCC, and asked him how much
money the society was spending on research. Nothing, Little told her.
Lasker immediately began a campaign to raise funds for the renamed American
Cancer Society (ACS). A granting program was begun in 1946. By 1948, the ACS
had raised around $14 million. Today, the ACS has chartered divisions throughout
the country and over 3,400 local units. ACS is the largest source of private, not-forprofit research funds in the United States, second only to the federal government in
total dollars spent.
How Do People Know They Have Cancer?
Many symptoms of cancer such as weight loss, fever, fatigue, and various
kinds of lumps could also be caused by other diseases. Some cancers may cause no
symptoms until they have spread. Based on the most commonly occurring cancers,
the American Cancer Society publishes a list of seven warning signs of cancer. These
symptoms do not mean that a person has cancer, but if they occur, a person should
see the doctor:
Change in bowel or bladder habits (for instance diarrhea that does not go away
or pain on urination)
A sore anywhere on the skin that does not heal
Unusual bleeding or discharge from the nose, mouth, skin, nipple, or vagina
A thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere
Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
Obvious changes in a wart or mole
Nagging cough, particularly if these symptoms occur in a cigarette smoker.
Eating for Health
The American Cancer Society recommends the following general nutritional
guidelines to help people stay healthy:
Choosing most foods from plant sources such as vegetables, fruits, and grains
Limiting intake of high-fat foods, especially from animal sources
Staying physically active
Maintaining a healthy weight
Limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages
Carcinogenesis or oncogenesis or tumorigenesis is literally the creation of cancer. It
is a process by which normal cells are transformed into cancer cells. It is
characterized by a progression of changes at the cellular, genetic and epigenetic level
that ultimately reprogram a cell to undergo uncontrolled cell division, thus forming a
malignant mass.
Cell division is a physiological process that occurs in almost all tissues and
under many circumstances. Under normal circumstances, the balance between
proliferation and programmed cell death, usually in the form of apoptosis, is
maintained by tightly regulating both processes to ensure the integrity of organs and
tissues. Mutations and epimutations in DNA that lead to cancer (only certain
mutations and epimutations can lead to cancer and the majority of potential mutations
and epimutations will have no bearing) disrupt these orderly processes by disrupting
the programming regulating the processes.
Carcinogenesis is caused by mutation and epimutation of the genetic material
of normal cells, which upsets the normal balance between proliferation and cell
death. This results in uncontrolled cell division and the evolution of those cells by
natural selection in the body. The uncontrolled and often rapid proliferation of cells
can lead to benign tumors; some types of these may turn into malignant tumors
(cancer). Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body or invade other
tissues, and they are rarely a threat to life unless they compress vital structures or are
physiologically active, for instance, producing a hormone. Malignant tumors can
invade other organs, spread to distant locations (metastasis) and become lifethreatening.
More than one mutation is necessary for carcinogenesis. In fact, a series of
several mutations to certain classes of genes is usually required before a normal cell
will transform into a cancer cell. On average, for example, 15 "driver mutations" and
60 "passenger" mutations are found in colon cancers. Mutations in those certain types
of genes that play vital roles in cell division, apoptosis (cell death), and mutations and
epimutations (see article Genome instability) in DNA repair genes will cause a cell to
lose control of its cell proliferation.
Oncovirinae, viruses that contain an oncogene, are categorized as oncogenic
because they trigger the growth of tumorous tissues in the host. This process is also
referred to as viral transformation.
Cancer is fundamentally a disease of regulation of tissue growth. In order for a
normal cell to transform into a cancer cell, genes that regulate cell growth and
differentiation must be altered. Genetic and epigenetic changes can occur at many
levels, from gain or loss of entire chromosomes, to a mutation affecting a single DNA
nucleotide, or to silencing or activating a microRNA that controls expression of 100
to 500 genes. There are two broad categories of genes that are affected by these
changes. Oncogenes may be normal genes that are expressed at inappropriately high
levels, or altered genes that have novel properties. In either case, expression of these
genes promotes the malignant phenotype of cancer cells. Tumor suppressor genes are
genes that inhibit cell division, survival, or other properties of cancer cells. Tumor
suppressor genes are often disabled by cancer-promoting genetic changes. Typically,
changes in many genes are required to transform a normal cell into a cancer cell.
There is a diverse classification scheme for the various genomic changes that
may contribute to the generation of cancer cells. Many of these changes are
mutations, or changes in the nucleotide sequence of genomic DNA. There are also
many epigenetic changes that alter whether genes are expressed or not expressed.
Aneuploidy, the presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes, is one genomic
change that is not a mutation, and may involve either gain or loss of one or more
chromosomes through errors in mitosis.
Large-scale mutations involve the deletion or gain of a portion of a
chromosome. Genomic amplification occurs when a cell gains many copies (often 20
or more) of a small chromosomal region, usually containing one or more oncogenes
and adjacent genetic material. Translocation occurs when two separate chromosomal
regions become abnormally fused, often at a characteristic location. A well-known
example of this is the Philadelphia chromosome, or translocation of chromosomes 9
and 22, which occurs in chronic myelogenous leukemia, and results in production of
the BCR-abl fusion protein, an oncogenic tyrosine kinase.
Small-scale mutations include point mutations, deletions, and insertions, which
may occur in the promoter of a gene and affect its expression, or may occur in the
gene's coding sequence and alter the function or stability of its protein product.
Disruption of a single gene may also result from integration of genomic material from
a DNA virus or retrovirus, and such an event may also result in the expression of
viral oncogenes in the affected cell and its descendants.
Epimutations include methylations or demethylations of the CpG islands of the
promoter regions of genes, which result in repression or de-repression, respectively of
gene expression. Epimutations, can also occur by acetylation, methylation,
phosphorylation or other alterations to histones, creating a histone code that represses
or activates gene expression, and such histone epimutations can be important
epigenetic factors in cancer. In addition, carcinogenic epimutation can occur through
alterations of chromosome architecture caused by proteins such as HMGA2. A
further source of epimutation is due to increased or decreased expression of
microRNAs (miRNAs). For example extra expression of miR-137 can cause
downregulation of expression of 491 genes, and miR-137 is epigenetically silenced in
32% of colorectal cancers
Biological properties of cancer cells
When normal cells are damaged beyond repair, they are eliminated by
apoptosis (A). Cancer cells avoid apoptosis and continue to multiply in an
unregulated manner (B).
In a 2000 article by Hanahan and Weinberg, the biological properties of malignant
tumor cells were summarized as follows:
Acquisition of self-sufficiency in growth signals, leading to unchecked growth.
Loss of sensitivity to anti-growth signals, also leading to unchecked growth.
Loss of capacity for apoptosis, in order to allow growth despite genetic errors
and external anti-growth signals.
Loss of capacity for senescence, leading to limitless replicative potential
Acquisition of sustained angiogenesis, allowing the tumor to grow beyond the
limitations of passive nutrient diffusion.
Acquisition of ability to invade neighbouring tissues, the defining property of
invasive carcinoma.
Acquisition of ability to build metastases at distant sites, the classical property
of malignant tumors (carcinomas or others).
The completion of these multiple steps would be a very rare event without :
Loss of capacity to repair genetic errors, leading to an increased mutation rate
(genomic instability), thus accelerating all the other changes.
These biological changes are classical in carcinomas; other malignant tumors may not
need to achieve them all. For example, tissue invasion and displacement to distant
sites are normal properties of leukocytes; these steps are not needed in the
development of leukemia. The different steps do not necessarily represent individual
mutations. For example, inactivation of a single gene, coding for the p53 protein, will
cause genomic instability, evasion of apoptosis and increased angiogenesis. Not all
the cancer cells are dividing. Rather, a subset of the cells in a tumor, called cancer
stem cells, replicate themselves and generate differentiated cells.
Basic. 1. Sorcin V, Popovich A, Dumanskiy Yu, et al. Clinical oncology.
Simferopol, 2008; 192 p.
2. Schepotin IB, Evans SRT. Oncology. Kiev, 2008; 235 p.
Additional. 1. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Practice
Guidelines in Oncology: Cancer Screening. v. 2012.
2. Manual Of Clinical Oncology, - Dennis A. Casciato, Barry B. Lowitz, 2000
3. Oxford Handbook of Oncology, - Oxford University Press, 2002
4. Basics of Oncology, - Frederick O. Stephens · Karl R. Aigner, 2009
5. HARRISON’S Manual of Oncology, - Bruce A. Chabner, Thomas J. Lynch,
Jr., Dan L. Longo, 2008
Methodical guidelines written
by Assistant oncology department
PhD. Lysenko S.A.