The genes altered in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence normally play a role in regulating the cell cycle, controlling the division and turnover of epithelial cells. DNA mutations result in a loss of function of the gene and subsequent unregulated cell growth. While many genes have been studied, the ones most commonly associated with the majority of colon cancers are APC, p53 and K-ras.
Colorectal cancer may develop in an individual who has a strong inherited risk. This occurs, for example, in patients with familial adenomatous
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