Paradoxes can be intellectually challenging and illuminating. The eponymous Peto paradox originated approximately 40 years ago when Peto, along with his colleagues Doll and Cairns, highlighted the observation that cancer risk does not appear to scale with size in the animal kingdom.1,2 The underlying premise was that more cell division (to make and sustain a larger animal) along with longer life span might be expected to carry a proportionally greater mutational and malignancy risk.
Greaves M, Ermini L. Evolutionary Adaptations to Risk of Cancer: Evidence From Cancer Resistance in Elephants. JAMA. 2015;314(17):1806–1807. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.13153
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: