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Cancer as an Evolutionary Process

  • Lília Perfeito
Chapter
Part of the Learning Materials in Biosciences book series (LMB)

Abstract

Cancer is the product of natural selection happening within our bodies. Our cells can be seen as individuals in populations, able to mature, reproduce with mutation, and die. All it takes is chance (and external factors such as smoking habits) for the emergence of mutant cells that divide uncontrollably and take over the whole tissue, creating aggressive tumors. If we understand the roots of this process, we will be able to develop better therapies that target the uniqueness of each cancer. In this chapter we will discuss how cancer is modulated both by somatic and germline evolution and we will examine the consequences of interpreting tumor progression as an adaptive process.

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Further Reading

  1. Leroi AM, Bartke A, De Benedictis G, Franceschi C, Gartner A, Gonos ES, Fedei ME, Kivisild T, Lee S, Kartaf-Ozer N, Schumacher M, Sikora E, Slagboom E, Tatar M, Yashin AI, Vijg J, Zwaan B (2005) What evidence is there for the existence of individual genes with antagonistic pleiotropic effects? Mech Ageing Dev 126(3):421–429. ReviewCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Lipinski KA, Barber LJ, Davies MN, Ashenden M, Sottoriva A, Gerlinger M (2016) Cancer evolution and the limits of predictability in precision cancer medicine. Trends Cancer 2(1):49–63.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trecan.2015.11.003. Epub 2016 Jan 29. Review. PubMed PMID: 26949746; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4756277CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lília Perfeito
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Gulbenkian CiênciaOeirasPortugal

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