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Glossary: differentiation, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota

differentiation

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

In cancer, refers to how mature (developed) the cancer cells are in a tumor. Differentiated tumor cells resemble normal cells and tend to grow and spread at a slower rate than undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tumor cells, which lack the structure and function of normal cells and grow uncontrollably.