Main Content

Conservation of cancer genes


Three out of four cancer-related genes are contained in the Drosophila genome

  The sequencing of the complete genome of D.melanogaster was completed in 2000. This allows us to directly check for which cancer-related genes there are apparent homologues in the fly and which cancer-related genes are missing. The number of conserved cancer genes turns out to be surprisingly high.

  Drosophila contains homologues of all the proto-oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes most frequently mutated in human cancers (e.g. Myc, Ras, pRb, p53, PTEN, cyclins). Other genes such as the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes involved in breast cancer are missing.


Below is a selection of genes adapted from Fortini et al., JCB, 150, 23-29 (2000).

Cancer genes with homologues in Drosophila: Cancer genes not found in Drosophila:
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (ABL1)
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (DEK)
Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC)
Ataxia Telangiectasia (ATM)
Basal Cell Nevus (PTC)
B-cell Lymphoma 2 (BCL2)
Bloom (BLM)
Burkitt's Lymphoma (MYC)
Chk2 Protein Kinase (CHK2)
Chronic Myleloid Leukemia (BCR)
Cyclin D1 (CCND1)
Cyclin-dependent Kinase 4 (CDK4)
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR)
E-Cadherin (CDH1)
Ewing Sarcoma (FL1-1)
Colon Cancer (MSH-2, -3, -6, MLH1, PMS2)
Lymphoma (MCF2)
Pancreatic Cancer (DPC4/MADH4)
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN1, RET)
Multiple Exostosis (EXT1, EXT2)
Neurofibromatosis (NF1, NF2)
Nijmegen Breakage (NBS1)
Tumour suppressors (P53, RB1, PTEN, P21)
Oncogenes (RAS, REL, AKT1, ERBB2)
Peutz-Jeghers (STK11)
Stem Cell Leukemia (TAL1)
Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC-1, -2)
Von Hippel Lindau (VHL)
Xerod. Pigmentosum (XPA, ERCC3, XPD, XPF, XPG)
Breast Cancer (BRCA-1, -2)
B-Cell Lymphoma 3 (BCL-3)
Leukemia (FMS)
Platelet Derived Growth Factor (PDGFB)
Oncogenes (ETS1, KIT)
Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF3)
Fanconi's Anemia (FANC-A, -C, -G)
T-cell Leukemia (LCK)
p53 regulator (MDM2)
Renal Cancer (MET)
Thyroid Cancer (NTRK1)
Tumour suppressors (P16, P14)
Wilm's Tumour (WT1)