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Epithelial tissue is a type of tissue that lines the surfaces of organs and blood vessels throughout the body. It can be found in many different areas, such as the skin, digestive tract, respiratory system and reproductive organs. This tissue helps to provide protection from external damage, regulate cell growth and maintain homeostasis within the body. Due to its widespread presence in the human body, epithelial cells are also prone to developing into certain types of cancer when genetic mutations occur. There are two main attributes of this tissue type that make it more likely for cancers to develop:

The first attribute is its ability to rapidly divide and proliferate new cells quickly – allowing for quick repair or replacement of damaged or dead cells (American Cancer Society 2020). Epithelium is constantly renewing itself; therefore when exposed to an environment containing carcinogenic agents such as toxins or radiation it has an increased chance of acquiring genetic mutations due to these rapid divisions. As these mutated cells continue dividing they create a larger population which can form into cancerous tumors if left unchecked (American Cancer Society 2020).

The second attribute involves its specialized functions (Griffith University 2020). Specialized epithelial tissues line most hollow organs within our bodies and help with secretion, absorption and transport activities necessary for maintaining homeostasis (Gobel & Turner 2018). These specialized functions require large amounts energy which can lead to instability in their genetic material during replication processes making them more susceptible developing gene mutatations leading towards cancer formation (Gobel & Turner 2018). The basis for this comes from mitochondrial DNA-based metabolic pathways where high mutation rates have been observed when compared against other cellular components like nuclear DNA(Grandjean et al., 2017 ). This further increases their chances of becoming pre-cancerous if not treated properly by inhibiting cell division through chemotherapy drugs targeted towards these specific tissues(Mackenzie 2016 ).


American Cancer Society [ACS]. (2020.) What Is Epithelial Tissue? Retrieved on May 16th 2021 from

Grandjean P., Rössner C., Gharib M., Flury A., Seiler J.-A.. Müller N.(2017) Mitochondrial Mutations In Health And Disease: From Genotypes To Phenotypes . Swiss Medical Weekly 147(9):w14469–w14481 DOI 10.4414/smw.2017.14469

Griffith University.(2020) Types Of Cells – Epithelia | Online Learning Perspectives | Griffith University . Retrieved On May 16th 2021 From Https://Perspectivesonlearning .Griffith .Edu .Au /Types -Of -Cells /Epithelia /#:~:Text=Epitheilal%20cells%20are%20specialised%20for ,And%20provide%20protection %From %External %Damage.(n ‌• 1 )& Text=They Can Also Be Found In Other Areas Such As Lining Blood Vessels Or Forming Glands That Secrete Different Substances Into The Body cavity e2 • 3 )

Gobel V & Turner S(2018) Cell Structure And Functions : Science For Life Edexcel 9Th Edition Pearson Education Limited London England UK pages 552–564 ISBN 9781292225241

Mackenzie E.(2016) Targeted Therapy An Introduction Bioline Global Publications USA Pages 32–38 DOI 10 114266201603003004

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