Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Detrimental Diversity

Analysis of the heterogeneity of tumours and how it's associated with prognosis

15 October 2022

Detrimental Diversity

Because it’s possible for just one mutant cell, replicating out of control, to give rise to a tumour, one might think tumours are comprised of essentially identical cells. But, that’s not the case. Tumours, generally speaking, contain a mix of cells that arise and develop as the tumour grows. This breast tumour (pictured), for example, shows a variety of cells marked by different colours. And, recent studies suggest, the more cellular diversity a tumour displays, the more deadly it will be. Women whose stage III breast cancer specimens exhibited highly heterogeneous cells – especially cells transitioning from an epithelial to mesenchymal type, which is associated with metastasis – had reduced survival times compared with women whose tumours were more uniform. While these findings may not lead directly to new treatment options for cancer sufferers, they could lead to a new prognostic screen that then guides treatment decisions.

Written by Ruth Williams

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.