differentiation

Definition / meaning of differentiation

In cancer, refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor. Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and tend to grow and spread at a slower rate than undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tumor cells, which lack the structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.

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Source(s):

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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