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Cell Division and Cancer Risk Data Point

Author(s): HHMI BioInteractive

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Cancer is typically attributed to hereditary and environmental factors, but these only explain a fraction of overall cancer risk. This activity explores a third factor.

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 17 Jan 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4VH55 - cite this


Relationship between the risk of cancer and the number of times stem cells divide in different types of body tissue over the course of a person’s lifetime. Lifetime risk (y-axis) is expressed as the base 10 logarithm of the probability of developing cancer, where 10-1is 10% risk, 10-2 is 1% risk, and so forth.

Download the educator guide PDF, which includes questions to guide a class discussion on the graph characteristics and what the data show.

Figure 1 from:

Cristian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein. Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions. Science 347 (6217), 78-81.

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