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synthetic lethality

Monday 30 January 2006

Two genes are synthetic lethal if mutation of either alone is compatible with viability but mutation of both leads to death. So, targeting a gene that is synthetic lethal to a cancer-relevant mutation should kill only cancer cells and spare normal cells. Synthetic lethality therefore provides a conceptual framework for the development of cancer-specific cytotoxic agents.


- Kaelin WG Jr. The concept of synthetic lethality in the context of anticancer therapy. Nat Rev Cancer. 2005 Sep;5(9):689-98. PMID: 16110319