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autocrine hypothesis

n.
  1. The hypothesis that tumor cells containing viral oncogenes may have encoded a growth factor normally produced by other cell types and thereby produce the factor autonomously, leading to uncontrolled proliferation.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.