"Double hit" hypothesis

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A theory of carcinogenesis which postulates that, since each gene is carried in two copies (one paternal and one maternal), complete loss of a tumor suppressor gene requires two separate mutational events. If one copy is already mutated at birth (i.e. inherit one faulty copy}, the likelihood of subsequent carcinogenesis is greatly increased, as now a single mutational event in a single cell suffices to create neoplasia.