Leukaemia mutations ‘almost inevitable’, researchers say

It is "almost inevitable" that your blood will take the first steps towards leukaemia as you age, researchers show. The cancer is often associated with children, but some types become more common with age. The study showed 70% of healthy people in their 90s had genetic errors that could lead to leukaemia.
The researchers warn that the number of cases could soar as life expectancy increases. The team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, outside Cambridge, analysed the blood of 4,219 people.
They focused on accurately testing for errors in the DNA that are linked to the blood cancers. If one blood cell in a hundred carried such a mutation they would pick it up. The results were a surprise.
They suggest 20% of people in their 50s have potentially cancerous mutations rising to 70% in people in their 90s. One of the researchers, Dr George Vassiliou, told the BBC News website: "We had suspected people had these mutations, but didn’t expect they would be an almost inevitable consequence of ageing.
"What it is saying is that a lot more people than expected are starting on the path to leukaemia, but thankfully only a few make it to the end."