UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How can brain get cancer, if nerve cells can't under go mitosis cell division, so how does it get cancer cells?
Question Date: 2013-06-12
Answer 1:

This is a great question, thank you for asking it!

Firstly, there are two types of tumors that can occur in the brain: primary (a tumor that originates in the brain) and secondary (when the cancer has spread from somewhere else to the brain.

Most brain tumors in children are primary tumors whereas most brain tumors in adults are secondary.

You are right in saying that nerve cells cannot undergo mitosis cell division, but apart from neurons, there are other supporting cells such as various glial cells, blood vessel cells, pituitary gland cells, meningeal cells, and those of the nerve sheaths and skull, and other cells that are able to replicate in brains and so that is where the cancer comes from.

Answer 2:

First, not all of the cells in the brain are nerve cells; second, and more importantly, nerve cells can't divide because the genes that enable cell division are turned off; they still have them. Becoming cancerous involves turning those genes back on.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use