A genetically determined process of cell self-destruction, often described as "programmed cell death." In adults it is activated either by the presence of an abnormality or by the removal of a stimulus or suppressing agent. This is a normal physiological process eliminating DNA-damaged, superfluous or unwanted cells. Disruption of apoptosis may result in uncontrolled cell growth and tumor formation. Cancer cells evade apoptosis, thereby becoming immortal and proliferating out of control.

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