Growth factors, such as insulin, EGF, PDGF, are indispensable elements of the regulation of cell proliferation. In the last years signal transduction pathways of many growth factors have been elucidated. p21 ras, a proto-oncogene product, plays a central role in growth signalling. The medical importance of the investigation of Ras proteins comes from the fact that mutant forms of Ras genes were found in a number of human tumours. The review summarizes the signal transduction pathways of growth factors, with special respect to the connection of protooncogenes, tumour suppressor genes and cancer research.