Stem cell divisions, somatic mutations, cancer etiology, and cancer prevention

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cancers are caused by mutations that may be inherited, induced by environmental factors, or result from DNA replication errors (R).We studied the relationship between the number of normal stem cell divisions and the risk of 17 cancer types in 69 countries throughout the world. The data revealed a strong correlation (median = 0.80) between cancer incidence and normal stem cell divisions in all countries, regardless of their environment. The major role of R mutations in cancer etiology was supported by an independent approach, based solely on cancer genome sequencing and epidemiological data, which suggested that R mutations are responsible for two-thirds of the mutations in human cancers. All of these results are consistent with epidemiological estimates of the fraction of cancers that can be prevented by changes in the environment. Moreover, they accentuate the importance of early detection and intervention to reduce deaths from the many cancers arising from unavoidable R mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1330-1334
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume355
Issue number6331
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 24 2017

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Cell Division
Stem Cells
Mutation
Neoplasms
DNA Replication
Genome
Incidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • General

Cite this

Stem cell divisions, somatic mutations, cancer etiology, and cancer prevention. / Tomasetti, Cristian; Li, Lu; Vogelstein, Bert.

In: Science, Vol. 355, No. 6331, 24.03.2017, p. 1330-1334.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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