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Evolutionary perspective of cancer: myth, metaphors, and reality

Arnal, Audrey, Ujvari, Beata, Crespi, Bernard, Gatenby, Robert A., Tissot, Tazzio, Vittecoq, Marion, Ewald, Paul W., Casali, Andreu, Ducasse, Hugo, Jacqueline, Camille, Missé, Dorothee, Renaud, Francois, Roche, Benjamin and Thomas, Frederic 2015, Evolutionary perspective of cancer: myth, metaphors, and reality, Evolutionary applications, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 541-544, doi: 10.1111/eva.12265.

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Title Evolutionary perspective of cancer: myth, metaphors, and reality
Author(s) Arnal, Audrey
Ujvari, BeataORCID iD for Ujvari, Beata orcid.org/0000-0003-2391-2988
Crespi, Bernard
Gatenby, Robert A.
Tissot, Tazzio
Vittecoq, Marion
Ewald, Paul W.
Casali, Andreu
Ducasse, Hugo
Jacqueline, Camille
Missé, Dorothee
Renaud, Francois
Roche, Benjamin
Thomas, Frederic
Journal name Evolutionary applications
Volume number 8
Issue number 6
Start page 541
End page 544
Total pages 4
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2015-07
ISSN 1752-4571
Keyword(s) adaptationism
cancer
evolutionary processes
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Evolutionary Biology
CLONAL EVOLUTION
CELL POPULATIONS
DISPERSAL
SELECTION
HISTORY
TUMOR
ADAPTATION
BEHAVIOR
DISEASE
GENES
Summary The evolutionary perspective of cancer (which origins and dynamics result from evolutionary processes) has gained significant international recognition over the past decade and generated a wave of enthusiasm among researchers. In this context, several authors proposed that insights into evolutionary and adaptation dynamics of cancers can be gained by studying the evolutionary strategies of organisms. Although this reasoning is fundamentally correct, in our opinion, it contains a potential risk of excessive adaptationism, potentially leading to the suggestion of complex adaptations that are unlikely to evolve among cancerous cells. For example, the ability of recognizing related conspecifics and adjusting accordingly behaviors as in certain free-living species appears unlikely in cancer. Indeed, despite their rapid evolutionary rate, malignant cells are under selective pressures for their altered lifestyle for only few decades. In addition, even though cancer cells can theoretically display highly sophisticated adaptive responses, it would be crucial to determine the frequency of their occurrence in patients with cancer, before therapeutic applications can be considered. Scientists who try to explain oncogenesis will need in the future to critically evaluate the metaphorical comparison of selective processes affecting cancerous cells with those affecting organisms. This approach seems essential for the applications of evolutionary biology to understand the origin of cancers, with prophylactic and therapeutic applications.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/eva.12265
Field of Research 060305 Evolution of Developmental Systems
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Wiley
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30077455

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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