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Much of cancer genetics research has focused on the identification of the most-important somatic mutations ('major drivers') that cause tumour growth. However, many mutations found in cancer might not be major drivers or 'passenger' mutations, but instead might have relatively weak tumour-promoting effects. Our aim is to highlight the existence of these mutations (termed 'mini drivers' herein), as multiple mini-driver mutations might substitute for a major-driver change, especially in the presence of genomic instability or high mutagen exposure. The mini-driver model has clinical implications: for example, the effects of therapeutically targeting such genes may be limited. However, the main importance of the model lies in helping to provide a complete understanding of tumorigenesis, especially as we anticipate that an increasing number of mini-driver mutations will be found by cancer genome sequencing.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/nrc3999

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Rev Cancer

Publication Date

11/2015

Volume

15

Pages

680 - 685

Keywords

Cell Transformation, Neoplastic, Evolution, Molecular, Humans, Mutation, Neoplasm Proteins, Neoplasms