March 27, 2017 – Random Cancer


Anchor lead: How much of developing cancer is under your control? Elizabeth Tracey reports

How much do your genes or what you choose to eat or drink have to do with whether you will develop cancer? Not nearly as much as you might think, a new Johns Hopkins study published in the journal Science and led by Bert Vogelstein and Cristian Tomasetti shows. Vogelstein explains that another factor is the major driver in most cancers.

Vogelstein: This factor is due to random mutations that normal cells acquire each time they divide. We believe that these random mutations account for the majority of the mutations that cause cancers. This is the first time that the proportion of cancer gene mutations due to these random mutations as well as environmental and hereditary factors has been able to be quantified. :30

So most cancers are the luck of the draw, the findings show. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.