Cancer arises from the stepwise accumulation of genetic changes that confer upon an incipient neoplastic cell the properties of unlimited, self-sufficient growth and resistance to normal homeostatic regulatory mechanisms. Advances in human genetics and molecular and cellular biology have identified a collection of cell phenotypes � the main destinations in the subway map below � that are required for malignant transformation1. Specific molecular pathways (subway lines) are responsible for programming these behaviours. Although the connections between cancer-cell wiring and function remain incompletely explored and specified � hence the many lines under construction � the broad outlines of the molecular circuitry of the cancer cell can now be sketched. Further advances in understanding these pathways and their interconnections will accelerate the development of molecularly targeted therapies that promise to change the practice of oncology.

How to use this resource

Click on any of the stations on the map to go to the LocusLink entry for that gene or group of genes. Click on the main stations (Boxed text) to go to a description of the pathway.

Routes that are under construction References and links TOR SMADs TFG-betaR TGF-beta CYCD-CDK4 INK4A INK4B MYC TCF beta-catenin APC GSK3beta Dishevelled Frizzled WNT CYCE-CDK2 BAX WAF1 p53 MDM2 ARF Change in gene expression MAPK MEK RAF RAS GRB2-SOS RTK growth factor cytokine GPCR G-protein P13K AKT PTEN PP2A ST elF4E Mobilization of resources Apoptosis TERT Replication lifespan Cell cycle LT RB

Subway map designed by Claudia Bentley.
Web design by Nick Allin.
Edited by Cath Brooksbank and Sandra Clark.
© 2002 Nature Publishing Group.