Evolutionary Ecology of Organs: A Missing Link in Cancer Development?

Frédéric Thomas, Randolph Nesse, Robert Gatenby, Cindy Gidoin, François Renaud, Benjamin Roche, Beata Ujvari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is striking variation in the incidence of cancer in human organs. Malignant tumors are common in the colon and breast but rare in the heart and small bowel. The uterus frequently develops benign fibroid tumors but uterine cancers are relatively rare. The organ-specific difference in cancer prevalence has been explained primarily by the relative roles of intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors. In this opinion article, we propose also considering organs as distinct but connected ecosystems whose different vulnerabilities to malignant transformation may be partially explained by how essential each organ is for survival through the age of reproduction. We present and discuss some of the basic concepts and assumptions of this perspective on evolutionary medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-415
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Cancer
Volume2
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Thomas, F., Nesse, R., Gatenby, R., Gidoin, C., Renaud, F., Roche, B., & Ujvari, B. (2016). Evolutionary Ecology of Organs: A Missing Link in Cancer Development? Trends in Cancer, 2(8), 409-415. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trecan.2016.06.009