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Mutat Res. 1995 Jan;326(1):117-24.

Retinoblastoma: a model for deriving the mutation rate without using any estimate of the size of the population at risk.

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MRC Radiobiology Unit, Chilton, Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK.


Paediatric cancer of the retinae arises from a transient population of stem cells whose growth and decay are responsible for the development of the fully differentiated photo-receptors and nerve cells. A model is described which fits the data on the incidence of bilateral retinoblastoma and gives the somatic mutation rate without using an estimate of the size of the population at risk. It also gives the shape of the retinoblast growth/decay curve. The model has been tested on two independent sets of data from the USA, and given that both sets are representative of the USA as a whole, there seems to have been little change in the somatic mutation rate over the last 30 or so years. For a total retinoblast formation of 4 x 10(6) cells, the average mutation rate is 2.94 x 10(-7) per cell per year.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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