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In Vivo. 1994 Jan-Feb;8(1):155-65.

Biological viewpoints of neoplastic regression.

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Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore 21201.


Progression during the growth processes, normal and pathologic, serves the production of new structures. On the contrary, regression serves the destruction of structures in the normal and pathologic organism. In the case of catastrophic development (as in homometabolic insects), the regressive processes, known there as autolysis or histolysis respectively, open the way for structural replacement followed by replacement of the removed structures by new ones. This process may be called normal indirect regression, whereas the regression of malignant neoplasms is better termed direct regression because it is not followed by a replacement. Oncologic interest is concerned mainly with the development of neoplastic growth, whereas the spontaneous regression has been rather neglected, even though its understanding may offer therapeutic possibilities in human and veterinary medicine. This paper offers some new thoughts based on recent cases of neoplastic regression.

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