Cancer as a dynamical phase transition

Paul Davies, Lloyd Demetrius, Jack A. Tuszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


This paper discusses the properties of cancer cells from a new perspective based on an analogy with phase transitions in physical systems. Similarities in terms of instabilities and attractor states are outlined and differences discussed. While physical phase transitions typically occur at or near thermodynamic equilibrium, a normal-to-cancer (NTC) transition is a dynamical non-equilibrium phenomenon, which depends on both metabolic energy supply and local physiological conditions. A number of implications for preventative and therapeutic strategies are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
JournalTheoretical Biology and Medical Modelling
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Health Informatics


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