The BRAF gene belongs to a class of genes known as oncogenes. This gene may also be referred to as proto-oncogene B-Raf and v-Raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B. The protein is more formally known as serine/threonine-protein kinase B-Raf. The BRAF gene is involved in sending signals in cells and in the growth of cells.
BRAF is a human gene that belongs to a class of genes known as oncogenes. When mutated, oncogenes have the potential to cause normal cells to become cancerous. Mutation can increase the growth and spread of the cancer cells.
The protein that the BRAF gene encodes for, BRAF, helps transmit chemical signals from outside of the cell to the cell’s nucleus. This protein is a part of the signaling pathway known as the RAS/MAPK pathway, which controls a variety of important cell functions. The chemical signaling through the RAS/MAPK pathway is critical for normal development of the human body before birth. This is because the RAS/MAPK pathway regulates the following processes:
- Proliferation: Growth and divide of cells
- Differentiation: Maturation of cells to undergo specific functions
- Migration: Movement of cells
- Apoptosis: Self-destruction of cells
BRAF mutations have been found in many types of cancer. In a variety of patients, BRAF mutations have been associated with features of high-risk melanoma including truncal primary, early age of onset, lack of chronic skin damage, and shortened survival.