A new study comes to the conclusion that a large part of the bosartigen tumor types are unavoidable

Oncologist bert vogelstein teaches at the kimmel cancer center at johns hopkins university in baltimore, a world leader in medicine. In a paper published in the journal science, which he wrote together with the biomathematician cristian tomasetti, he concludes that a large proportion of cancers in adults cannot be prevented by even the most basic risk avoidance, because chance plays too large a role in their outbreak.

Vogelstein and tomasetti arrived at this result by mathematically linking the risk of various tumors with the stem cell division rate of different types of tie. During the division of cancer-relevant cells it can come namlich to errors, from which tumors develop.

In this comparison, they found that 22 of a total of 31 tumor types studied correlate closely with the rate of cell division. In humans, for example, stem cells divide much more frequently in the colon than in the small intestine – and the risk of developing cancer of the colon is much higher than that of a malignant tumor in the small intestine. In mice, on the other hand, the reverse is true: stem cells divide more frequently in the small intestine – and they develop cancer there more often.

Cancer cause coincidence

Lung cancer cell dividing. Graphic: nih

For nine of the tumor types he studied – including lung cancer and skin cancer – the oncologist and biomathematician found no strong correlation with cell division rate, which is why they attribute a more important role to environmental factors such as tobacco consumption or excessive sunbathing.

In vogelstein’s opinion, regular examinations can help against the other 22 types of tumors, which can ensure that an inevitable tumor is detected early and removed as far as possible before it metastasizes. That’s why, he says, more resources should be put into researching early detection methods. The oncologist considers the different genetic makeup of people as an explanation for whether cancer develops or not to be less significant than is often amed.

Because they could not find enough reliable data on stem cell division rates in the scientific literature, vogelstein and tomasetti’s study omits several important cancers, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. The two scientists hope, however, that other medical professionals will take their work as an incentive to continue research in these areas.

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