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Malignant transformation

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Title: Malignant transformation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Viral transformation, Oncomir, Epstein–Barr virus-encoded small RNAs, Flow-FISH, Transformation
Collection: Carcinogenesis, Cellular Processes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Malignant transformation

Malignant transformation is the process by which cells acquire the properties of cancer. This may occur as a primary process in normal tissue, or secondarily as malignant degeneration of a previously existing benign tumor.

There are many causes of primary malignant transformation, or nitrosamines. It is also thought that some malignant transformations are due to viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus, although this is currently restricted to just a few cancer types. A more common cancer associated with viral infection is cervical cancer, which has been linked to the human papilloma virus.

Malignant transformation of cells in a benign tumor may be detected by pathologic examination of tissues. Often the clinical signs and symptoms are suggestive of a malignant tumor. The physician, during the medical history examination, can find that there have been changes in size or patient sensation and, upon direct examination, that there has been a change in the lesion itself.

Risk assessments can be done and are known for certain types of benign tumor which are known to undergo malignant transformation. One of the better-known examples of this phenomenon is the progression of a nevus to melanoma.

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