Abstract

Evolution by natural selection is the conceptual foundation for nearly every branch of biology and increasingly also for biomedicine and medical research. In cancer biology, evolution explains how populations of cells in tumors change over time. It is a fundamental question whether this evolutionary process is driven primarily by natural selection and adaptation or by other evolutionary processes such as founder effects and drift. In cancer biology, as in organismal evolutionary biology, there is controversy about this question and also about the use of adaptation through natural selection as a guiding framework for research. In this review, we discuss the differences and similarities between evolution among somatic cells versus evolution among organisms. We review what is known about the parameters and rate of evolution in neoplasms, aswell as evidence for adaptation. We conclude that adaptation is a useful framework that accurately explains the defining characteristics of cancer. Further, convergent evolution through natural selection provides the only satisfying explanation both for howa group of diverse pathologies have enough in common to usefully share the descriptive label of “cancer” and for why this convergent condition becomes lifethreatening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera029652
JournalCold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Fingerprint

Genetic Selection
Molecular Biology
Neoplasms
Pathology
Clonal Evolution
Founder Effect
Labels
Tumors
Cells
Biomedical Research
Research
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Natural selection in cancer biology : From molecular snowflakes to trait hallmarks. / Fortunato, Angelo; Boddy, Amy; Mallo, Diego; Aktipis, C Athena; Maley, Carlo; Pepper, John W.

In: Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine, Vol. 7, No. 2, a029652, 01.02.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{136f1df2931646009d75e7127b08b1b0,
title = "Natural selection in cancer biology: From molecular snowflakes to trait hallmarks",
abstract = "Evolution by natural selection is the conceptual foundation for nearly every branch of biology and increasingly also for biomedicine and medical research. In cancer biology, evolution explains how populations of cells in tumors change over time. It is a fundamental question whether this evolutionary process is driven primarily by natural selection and adaptation or by other evolutionary processes such as founder effects and drift. In cancer biology, as in organismal evolutionary biology, there is controversy about this question and also about the use of adaptation through natural selection as a guiding framework for research. In this review, we discuss the differences and similarities between evolution among somatic cells versus evolution among organisms. We review what is known about the parameters and rate of evolution in neoplasms, aswell as evidence for adaptation. We conclude that adaptation is a useful framework that accurately explains the defining characteristics of cancer. Further, convergent evolution through natural selection provides the only satisfying explanation both for howa group of diverse pathologies have enough in common to usefully share the descriptive label of “cancer” and for why this convergent condition becomes lifethreatening.",
author = "Angelo Fortunato and Amy Boddy and Diego Mallo and Aktipis, {C Athena} and Carlo Maley and Pepper, {John W.}",
year = "2017",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1101/cshperspect.a029652",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "7",
journal = "Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine",
issn = "2157-1422",
publisher = "Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Natural selection in cancer biology

T2 - From molecular snowflakes to trait hallmarks

AU - Fortunato, Angelo

AU - Boddy, Amy

AU - Mallo, Diego

AU - Aktipis, C Athena

AU - Maley, Carlo

AU - Pepper, John W.

PY - 2017/2/1

Y1 - 2017/2/1

N2 - Evolution by natural selection is the conceptual foundation for nearly every branch of biology and increasingly also for biomedicine and medical research. In cancer biology, evolution explains how populations of cells in tumors change over time. It is a fundamental question whether this evolutionary process is driven primarily by natural selection and adaptation or by other evolutionary processes such as founder effects and drift. In cancer biology, as in organismal evolutionary biology, there is controversy about this question and also about the use of adaptation through natural selection as a guiding framework for research. In this review, we discuss the differences and similarities between evolution among somatic cells versus evolution among organisms. We review what is known about the parameters and rate of evolution in neoplasms, aswell as evidence for adaptation. We conclude that adaptation is a useful framework that accurately explains the defining characteristics of cancer. Further, convergent evolution through natural selection provides the only satisfying explanation both for howa group of diverse pathologies have enough in common to usefully share the descriptive label of “cancer” and for why this convergent condition becomes lifethreatening.

AB - Evolution by natural selection is the conceptual foundation for nearly every branch of biology and increasingly also for biomedicine and medical research. In cancer biology, evolution explains how populations of cells in tumors change over time. It is a fundamental question whether this evolutionary process is driven primarily by natural selection and adaptation or by other evolutionary processes such as founder effects and drift. In cancer biology, as in organismal evolutionary biology, there is controversy about this question and also about the use of adaptation through natural selection as a guiding framework for research. In this review, we discuss the differences and similarities between evolution among somatic cells versus evolution among organisms. We review what is known about the parameters and rate of evolution in neoplasms, aswell as evidence for adaptation. We conclude that adaptation is a useful framework that accurately explains the defining characteristics of cancer. Further, convergent evolution through natural selection provides the only satisfying explanation both for howa group of diverse pathologies have enough in common to usefully share the descriptive label of “cancer” and for why this convergent condition becomes lifethreatening.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85011554837&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85011554837&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1101/cshperspect.a029652

DO - 10.1101/cshperspect.a029652

M3 - Article

VL - 7

JO - Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine

JF - Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine

SN - 2157-1422

IS - 2

M1 - a029652

ER -