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July 15, 1968

Comment: Cure and the Growth Rate of Childhood Tumors

JAMA. 1968;205(3):163-166. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140290055016

The interrelationship between cure and the growth rate of human tumors is generally appreciated. However, the selection of five-year survival figures as a reference point in time for cure of cancer is arbitrary since many exceptions exist. For the slow growing tumor, such as thyroid cancer, only 10-or even 15-year survival rates are helpful. For rapidly growing lesions, such as the childhood tumors under discussion, two-year survival rates are meaningful. But many exceptions exist to general rules about a specific histopathologic type of cancer, and the clinician is always searching for a more objective measure to predict the prognosis of each individual patient.

The concept of "doubling times" as a measure of growth rate of human tumors and its utilization as a prognosticator in childhood cancers is an intriguing and important insight. Collins et al51 hypothesized that the origin of a cancer is from a single cell which divides