I was intrigued by the fact that some apoptotic cells can recover if not engulfed by another cell. DNA reassembly after the caspases tear it apart should result in many gene mutations. While most of the mutations would result in cell death, perhaps a few cells would have mutations that promote a cancerous or precancerous state. An aging or weakened immune system would allow more apoptotic cells to recover, increasing the risk of cancer.

Karl M. Bizjak
Orinda, Calif.