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Doubling Time of Tumors

Author(s): Lou Gross1, Monica Beals1, Susan Harrell1

University of Tennessee Knoxville

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This module introduces the calculation of potential doubling time of tumorous cells in the context of understanding the growth of a population of the cells. It is intended for an introductory biology audience.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 11 Jan 2019 doi:10.25334/Q4BQ7B - cite this


This activity maps to the OpenStax biology textbook, 10.4 Cancer and the Cell Cycle.

Student Introduction: The cell cycle is divided into four stages: Gap 1, DNA synthesis or S-phase, Gap 2, and mitosis. When modelling the growth of a population of cells, it is commonly useful to assume that every individual cell doubles with every cell cycle, i.e. the daughter cells themselves divide upon completion of the next cell cycle. This is typically expressed as an exponentially growing population (see Cell Division in the Presence of a Growth Factor and Cell Division). However, in many circumstances, not all the daughter cells divide, and the rate of population growth can be affected. For example, tumor growth rate is less than that of normal cells due to the considerable loss of cells and the fact that only a fraction of the cancerous cells are dividing.

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