There are 568 genes that can trigger cancer, researchers say

Scientists in Spain have identified more than 500 genes with the potential to trigger cancer.

Researchers from Institute for Research in Biomedicine Barcelona in Spain performed a computational analysis of about 28,000 tumors from 66 types of cancer.

They pinpointed 568 cancer driver genes, which play specific roles in the regulation of cell growth, the cell cycle and DNA replication. Mutations in these genes can enable malignant cells to reproduce continually and rapidly, evade the immune system and spread and invade other tissues, among other capabilities.

The researchers also found that most of the 568 genes are highly specific, and their mutations can only trigger a few tumor types. But a small group of the genes — less than 2 percent of those identified — are versatile and can drive more than 20 different types of cancer.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer.

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