Cancer is a developmental error, in the view of a Texas cytologist who addressed the fifth National Cancer Conference in Philadelphia. The error represents a type of change in cellular milieu which retains or activates genetic information for growth but loses or inactivates information for maturation and normal function.
Whatever the change that causes inactivation of normal function, it is specific for a particular cell type and particular stage of cellular development, according to T. C. Hsu, PhD, cytologist at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston. Change in chromosomal constitution is one known way in which neoplastic transformation is initiated.
The Philadelphia chromosome found in chronic myelogenous leukemia is an example. There is presently a lack of evidence whether chromosomal changes are a prerequisite for cancer or whether cancer is a result of such changes. Induced chromosomal changes—using physical, chemical, or biological methods—are nonspecific,