In English | En español
Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

Page Options

  • Print This Page

Widget

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms



differentiation  listen  (DIH-feh-REN-shee-AY-shun)

  In biology, describes the processes by which immature cells become mature cells with specific functions. In cancer, this describes how much or how little tumor tissue looks like the normal tissue it came from. Well-differentiated cancer cells look more like normal cells and tend to grow and spread more slowly than poorly differentiated or undifferentiated cancer cells. Differentiation is used in tumor grading systems, which are different for each type of cancer.

More Information