When cells start to get old or stop working properly, they are killed off by a process called apoptosis. These cells are then replaced with new cells, by a process called cell division, which allows the body to grow and heal itself.
Tumours are often the result of when cells don’t die when they should, or when cell division becomes uncontrolled. In both situations you end up with a clump of cells where they shouldn’t be – a tumour.
Folliculin has been shown to regulate apoptosis and to inhibit cell division, which stops tumours forming.
Therefore, Folliculin works as a tumour suppressor. This means that when a cell doesn’t have enough Folliculin protein, Folliculin can no longer act as a brake to stop tumours forming.
Publication date: December 2014
Review date: June 2021