Which One of These is Characteristic of Cancer Cells

Cancer Cells

Characteristics, Vs Normal cells, Types and Microscopy

Overview: Cancer and Cancer Cells

Essentially, cancer is a disease of mitosis. Equally such, information technology occurs when normal cells are transformed into malignant cells and proliferate uncontrollably. Cancer cells, therefore, are normal cells whose genes (several genes) have been damaged/mutated which in turn cause the jail cell as a whole to respond differently to signals that control the lifespan of a normal jail cell.

Considering they do not respond to signals/instructions that control the development and decease of normal cells, cancer cells continue to grow and proliferate and even invade other parts of the body.

In the process, some of the cancer cells end upwards forming tumors not only at the first region to be affected (lungs etc) only besides result in secondary cancerous growths away from the primary site known as metastasis.

Some of the main characteristics of cancer cells that differentiate them from other normal cells include:

  • Abnormally shaped and significantly vary in size
  • Incapable of cocky-repair
  • Practise non go through normal apoptosis
  • Do not perform normal cell functions (as is the case with specialized cells)

Causes of Cancer Cells

Before looking at some of the chief characteristics of cancer cells in detail, it’s worth agreement what causes cancer.

Basically, the transformation of a prison cell from normal to malignant is acquired by agents that are collectively known as carcinogens. On the other manus, such biological factors every bit viruses (e.g. HPV) have been shown to increase the risk of cancer in diverse parts of the body.

Here, these initiating agents, which include carcinogens (e.g. radiations, UV light, food additives, various chemicals, and cigarette fume, etc) and viruses transform normal cells by causing impairment to Deoxyribonucleic acid and thereby inducing mutations.

Normal cells, still, practise not generally transform into cancer cells within a few days. This may happen gradually with exposure to the initiating agent. For instance, this may occur as a effect of smoking cigarettes for several years.

As the cells become exposed to this initiating agent, several genes may terminate upwards being damaged which in plough may non simply affect prison cell functions, but likewise the cell cycle.

Depending on the bear upon of the carcinogen on the cell, the blazon of cancer that develops (from the cancerous cells) would be different from other types of cancer. For instance, while some of the tumors that develop may exist beneficial; others may be more aggressive and quickly spread to other parts of the trunk.

While at that place are unlike types of cancer cells every bit there are cancers, they all share a number of characteristics.

Characteristics of Cancer Cells

Compared to Normal Cells

Irregular Shape

For the most function, normal cells adopt a specific, uniform cell shape one time they differentiate. Depending on the prison cell, this may allow the cell to effectively perform their function in the body.

A skillful example of this is crimson claret cells that accept a biconcave shape that allows them to conduct blood-red claret cells effectively. Cancer cells, on the other manus, are irregular in shape and misshapen with varying sizes.

Given that they do not attach to each other equally other normal cells do, in various tissues, they also appear every bit a chaotic collection of cells when viewed nether the microscope.

The irregular shape of cancer cells has likewise been identified in the nucleus and nucleolus of cancer cells. Whereas normal cells take a nucleus with a smooth appearance that is spherical in shape, the nucleus of cancer cells tends to be irregular with bulges (blebs). This irregularity is too evident on the nucleolus and may be divided into multiple nucleoli.

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Normal cells in the body live within a certain catamenia of time and then die. For case, red blood cells accept a lifespan of about 120 days afterward which they undergo

Through this process, anile red cells are cleared while new ones proceed to exist produced to ship oxygen around the torso. Cells in the torso (normal cells) are destroyed through a procedure known as apoptosis in the outcome that damage to parts of the cell (DNA, etc) cannot be repaired.

For cancer cells, such mechanisms as cell repair are defective which allows the cells to go along living through an indefinite number of population doubling. Moreover, cancer cells do not respond to signals that initiate apoptosis as is the case with normal cells, which allows them to keep proliferating both in vivo and in vitro.

For normal cells, each division is accompanied past the shortening of the telomeres at the ends of the chromosomes. When these regions wear out, the cell somewhen dies. For cancer cells, however, the length of this part of the jail cell is retained which allows the cells to continue dividing.

A proficient example of this is the HeLa jail cell line belonging to a woman by the name Henrietta Lacks who died in 1951 of cervical cancer.

Altered Metabolism

In society to produce the free energy required to effectively perform their functions, normal cells need oxygen and sugar (glucose) among other requirements.

Transformed cells, however, take been shown to have lower growth requirements compared to normal cells. For instance, in a study where 3T3 fibroblasts were transformed using several viruses, their growth in civilization was shown to be successful despite the lack of various serum growth factors.

Unlike normal cells, cancer cells have also been shown to exist capable of producing their own growth factors that can as well stimulate the proliferation of other cells in their surroundings.

In both glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid bike, studies have shown cancerous cells to poorly use oxygen for free energy production. Instead, they have been shown to apply more glucose (to every bit much as 10 times more than than normal cells) for free energy production. Here, the sugar is converted to lactic acid before existence recycled in the liver.

In some cases, these cells accept also been shown to deport similar metabolic parasites in that they bleed energy from the surrounding cells. This provides them with the energy required for proliferation. At the same time, it likewise causes the organism to experience fatigue.

Cancer Cells induce Angiogenesis

One of the other characteristics of cancerous cells is their vascularizing abilities. By producing angiogenic factors (TAF), cancer cells stimulate endothelium growth and thus stimulate the germination of new claret vessels.

This allows the cells to receive more nutrients (high amounts of glucose) required for proliferation and growth. While angiogenesis plays an important role in supplying cancer cells, information technology has also been shown to highly contribute to metastasis.

Based on a variety of studies, the density of microvessels has been shown to be higher in malignant cancers as compared to benign neoplasias. Using the new vessels, cancer cells are able to migrate to other parts of the trunk and cause the spread of cancer to these regions.

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Adhesion (cell to prison cell adhesion and cell to extracellular matrix adhesion)

For normal cells, cell to cell adhesion and cell to extracellular matrix adhesion has been shown to play an important role in enhancing cell growth,
differentiation, multiplication and function. Disruption of the same has been associated with motility of the cells as well every bit invasion through the extracellular matrix.

Compared to normal cells, cancer cells have been shown to exist less agglutinative due to loss of such surface adhesive molecules as E-cadherin. Reduced adhesive properties of these cells have been associated with alterations observed in their general morphology. Despite reduced adhesiveness, increased motility does non occur.

Considering of the fact that cancer cells are less adhesive compared to normal cells, they tin easily invade the extracellular matrix and even migrate through the vascular system to other parts of the body. In malignant cancer, this allows the cells to spread easily to other parts of the trunk causing the illness to go on spreading.

Some of the other characteristics of cancer cells include:

  • Altered cellular differentiation
  • Tin can evade the immune arrangement that would otherwise destroy them
  • The protein that checks for gene harm (p53) in normal cells (thus initiating repair or cell damage) is lacking in cancer cells which prevents their death
  • DNA hypomethylation in cancer cells promotes carcinogenesis

Types of Cancer Cells

Today, well over 100 types of cancer have been identified. Considering they arise from unlike types of cells in the body, the names given to the different types of cancer are derived from the affected cells.

The dissimilar types of cancer cells tin be identified past looking at the dissimilar types of cancers that have been identified.

While at that place are many types of cancers that have been identified, some of the most common include:



– is the type of cancer that affects bones and the soft tissues. Equally such, it is probable to touch the blood vessels, tendons, and ligaments every bit well as muscles. An case of sarcoma is Osteosarcoma which is ane of the most common bone cancers.



– is a type of cancer that begins at blood-forming tissue. Given that it affects the tissue that produce white cells, alterations result in increased production of abnormal white cells that accumulate at the bone marrow and ultimately outnumber normal cells. This not only affects the normal ration of claret cells in the body, but too their ability to effectively carry out their functions.



– is the type of cancer that arises from altered lymphocytes. Every bit such, it results in the product of abnormal lymphocytes that spread through such vessels as the lymph vessels to other organs.



– Melanoma starts from cells known as melanocytes. These are the cells responsible for the production of melanin. Every bit a result, the furnishings of the disease tin exist observed on the skin and eyes.

Some of the other types of cancer, and thus cancer cells include:


Brain and spinal string cancer

– There are different types of brain and spinal cord cancer that are named based on the origin of the disease (eastward.chiliad.  astrocytes requite rise to astrocytic tumors).

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– Cancer that begins in the plasma cells (myeloma cells).


Germ cell tumors

– Starts at the germ cells.



– There are different types of carcinoma depending on origin. Among others, they include Adenocarcinoma, Anaplastic carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma

* Cancer cells may also exist classified on the basis of the tumor they form. While some cells form lumps/growths that spread out and invade other parts of the body (malignant tumors), some remain intact and do not spread out (benign tumors).

Although all tumors are reason for concern, beneficial tumors are easy to manage and can be removed through surgery compared to malignant ones that tend to spread to other parts of the trunk through the lymphatic and claret vessels.

Microscopy (Squamous Jail cell Carcinoma)

Apart from electron microscope techniques, unlike types of light microscope techniques have been used to detect cancer cells.

Using peripheral claret films has proved effective in observing cancer cells of the blood (lymphoma) while Giemsa staining has been used to detect squamous cell (cases of carcinoma) under the light microscope.

This section gives focus to the use of a confocal microscope to observe carcinoma cancer cells (squamous-jail cell carcinoma).



  • A confocal microscope

  • Acridine orange (AO) stain

  • Clean glass slide

  • Apartment wooden sticks/ cotton swabs

  • 100% booze

  • 1% acetic acrid

  • Distilled h2o

  • Phosphate buffer solution

  • Sample (squamous jail cell carcinoma from the buccal mucosa)



  • Using a apartment wooden stick or cotton swab, smear the sample onto a make clean glass slide

  • Ready the sample using 100 percent alcohol (for about 15 minutes)

  • Rinse the slide in ane percent acetic acid for a few seconds

  • Wash the sample using distilled water for about 1 minute (two changes)

  • Stain the sample using 0.01 percent acridine orange for about 3 minutes

  • Using phosphate buffer solution, de-stain the slide for about 1 minute -differentiate in 0.1 M CaCl for about a minute

  • Use phosphate buffer solution to remove excess CaCl

  • Add a drib of the phosphate buffer solution to mountain and observe under the microscope

See more on cell staining.



When viewed nether the microscope, significant nuclear change is evident. Hither, nuclei (green in color) are seen every bit scattered particles. The cytoplasm, on the other hand, takes up a deadening olive green coloration.

The utilize of Papanicolaou stain also makes the nuclei more visible under the microscope (pink/purple in color) where the cytoplasm appears more translucent.

Render to Immunohistochemistry – Techniques and Cancer Research

Return to Histopathology – Analysis under the Microscope

Return to Cytopathology – Researching Cancer, Microscopy Analysis

Return to Cell Division – Binary Fission, Meiosis, Mitosis and Cancer

What are the Differences between Meiosis and Mitosis?

Render to learning about Astrocytes

Return to Cell Biology primary page

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As Adewoyin and B. Nwogoh. (2014). PERIPHERAL BLOOD Motion-picture show – A REVIEW. NCBI.

Halliday Idikio. (2011). Human Cancer Classification: A Systems Biological science- Based Model Integrating Morphology, Cancer Stem Cells, Proteomics, and Genomics.

Raymond Westward. Ruddon. (2003). What Makes a Cancer Jail cell a Cancer Jail cell? Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine. 6th edition.

Shalmica Jackson, Daniela Grabis, and Caroline Manav (2018). Giemsa: The Universal Diagnostic Stain.

Shyam Prasad Reddy, Pratibha Ramani, and Purshotam Nainani. (2013). Confocal microscopy and exfoliative cytology. NCBI.




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Which One of These is Characteristic of Cancer Cells

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