Contributed equally to this study.
Applying ecological and evolutionary theory to cancer: a long and winding road
Article first published online: 16 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Special Issue: Evolution and Cancer
Volume 6, Issue 1, pages 1–10, January 2013
How to Cite
Thomas, F., Fisher, D., Fort, P., Marie, J.-P., Daoust, S., Roche, B., Grunau, C., Cosseau, C., Mitta, G., Baghdiguian, S., Rousset, F., Lassus, P., Assenat, E., Grégoire, D., Missé, D., Lorz, A., Billy, F., Vainchenker, W., Delhommeau, F., Koscielny, S., Itzykson, R., Tang, R., Fava, F., Ballesta, A., Lepoutre, T., Krasinska, L., Dulic, V., Raynaud, P., Blache, P., Quittau-Prevostel, C., Vignal, E., Trauchessec, H., Perthame, B., Clairambault, J., Volpert, V., Solary, E., Hibner, U. and Hochberg, M. E. (2013), Applying ecological and evolutionary theory to cancer: a long and winding road. Evolutionary Applications, 6: 1–10. doi: 10.1111/eva.12021
- Issue published online: 21 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 16 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 13 JUN 2012
- CNRS. Grant Number: GDR 3530
- cancer, disease biology;
- evolutionary medicine;
- evolutionary theory
Since the mid 1970s, cancer has been described as a process of Darwinian evolution, with somatic cellular selection and evolution being the fundamental processes leading to malignancy and its many manifestations (neoangiogenesis, evasion of the immune system, metastasis, and resistance to therapies). Historically, little attention has been placed on applications of evolutionary biology to understanding and controlling neoplastic progression and to prevent therapeutic failures. This is now beginning to change, and there is a growing international interest in the interface between cancer and evolutionary biology. The objective of this introduction is first to describe the basic ideas and concepts linking evolutionary biology to cancer. We then present four major fronts where the evolutionary perspective is most developed, namely laboratory and clinical models, mathematical models, databases, and techniques and assays. Finally, we discuss several of the most promising challenges and future prospects in this interdisciplinary research direction in the war against cancer.