Multiple genetic changes occur during the evolution of normal cells into cancer cells. This evolution is facilitated in cancer cells by loss of fidelity in the processes that replicate, repair, and segregate the genome. Recent advances in our understanding of the cell cycle reveal how fidelity is normally achieved by the coordinated activity of cyclin-dependent kinases, checkpoint controls, and repair pathways and how this fidelity can be abrogated by specific genetic changes. These insights suggest molecular mechanisms for cellular transformation and may help to identify potential targets for improved cancer therapies.
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