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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 45-47

Cellular cannibalism: A promising feature to determine cancer prognosis

Department of Oral Pathology, PDM Dental College and Research Institute, Bahadurgarh, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Gurkiran Kaur
Department of Oral Pathology, PDM Dental College and Research Institute, Bahadurgarh, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4987.182493

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Cellular cannibalism is defined as the ability of a cell to engulf another living cell leading eventually to the death of the internalized cell. It has been considered as an important morphologic feature to distinguish benign from malignant lesions and an emerging indicator of both the anaplastic grade and invasiveness. Cannibalism has even been hypothesized to be related to the metastatic capabilities of malignant cells. It is considered as a sort of “feeding” activity aimed at sustaining survival and progression of malignant tumor cells in an unfavorable microenvironment. Cell-in-cell formation promotes tumor progression, by inducing changes in cell ploidy. It is especially valuable as it eventually helps in assessing tumor behavior. It may function as a way of eliminating malignant cells or alternatively the ingested cell may serve as a source of nutrients for the proliferating cell that shows this cannibalistic behavior.

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