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Molecular Biology and Evolution of Cancer: From Discovery to Action.

  • Author(s): Somarelli, Jason A
  • Gardner, Heather
  • Cannataro, Vincent L
  • Gunady, Ella F
  • Boddy, Amy M
  • Johnson, Norman A
  • Fisk, Jeffrey Nicholas
  • Gaffney, Stephen G
  • Chuang, Jeffrey H
  • Li, Sheng
  • Ciccarelli, Francesca D
  • Panchenko, Anna R
  • Megquier, Kate
  • Kumar, Sudhir
  • Dornburg, Alex
  • DeGregori, James
  • Townsend, Jeffrey P
  • et al.
Abstract

Cancer progression is an evolutionary process. During this process, evolving cancer cell populations encounter restrictive ecological niches within the body, such as the primary tumor, circulatory system, and diverse metastatic sites. Efforts to prevent or delay cancer evolution-and progression-require a deep understanding of the underlying molecular evolutionary processes. Herein we discuss a suite of concepts and tools from evolutionary and ecological theory that can inform cancer biology in new and meaningful ways. We also highlight current challenges to applying these concepts, and propose ways in which incorporating these concepts could identify new therapeutic modes and vulnerabilities in cancer.

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