MadSci Network: Cell Biology

Re: What cells in the human body are attack by most types of cancer?

Date: Mon Jul 16 10:41:09 2001
Posted By: Erin Cram, Post doc, Molecular Biology
Area of science: Cell Biology
ID: 995074183.Cb

	Although almost any dividing cell can become a cancer cell, the cells 
most commonly affected by cancer are the more rapidly growing types of 
cells.  This is because cancer takes a lot of cell divisions to develop.  
Each time a cell divides it makes a new copy of all of its DNA.  Each time 
the DNA is copied, there is a chance for a mistake.  These mistakes, called 
"mutations", lead to cancer.  But, it is thought that many mutations are 
needed to cause cancer. SO, the more times the cell divides, the more chance 
for error, and the higher the possibility of cancer occuring. 

 	Quickly dividing cells include blood cells.  One cancer of the blood 
cells is known as leukemia.  Other common cancers come from epithelial 
cells.  "Epithelial" cells are cells that make linings in the body.  For 
example, some types of skin cells are epithelial cells.  Epithelial cells of 
the breast and prostate can become cancer cells. 


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