Cancer is the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular diseases. Finding reasons to the reason behind it is of major importance.

Aim

To assess why elephants rarely get cancer.

Results

Researchers analyzed African and Asian elephant genomes for potential mechanisms of cancer resistance and compared to those from healthy human controls and patients who are prone to cancer (Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS)).

Humans had an approximate cancer death of 11-25% in comparison to 4.8% in elephants.  The reasoning behind this was thought to be the TP53 gene, a tumor suppressor gene that is mutated in the majority of human cancers.  While humans have 1 copy, African elephants have at least 20 copies.

Conclusion

Compared to humans, elephants have lower risk of cancer, possibly due to multiple copies of the TP53 gene.

Reference