1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

What is Apoptosis?

By

Updated February 17, 2013

Definition:

Apoptosis refers to the death of a cell resulting from a normal series of genetically programmed events, when a cell is no longer needed.

Apoptosis is a natural process that removes cells that have become old or unhealthy.

Apoptosis is important in understanding cancer, because cancer cells have, in a simplistic sense, developed a way to avoid apoptosis. Newer treatments are being studied that interfere with the cancer cell's ability to avoid apoptosis.

Pronunciation: ay-pop-toe-sis
Also Known As: cell suicide,programmed cell death

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.