Structure of Intratumor Heterogeneity: Is Cancer Hedging Its Bets? [article]

B. Brutovsky, D. Horvath
2013 arXiv   pre-print
Development of resistance limits transferability of most anticancer therapies into curative treatment and understanding mechanisms beyond it remains a big challenge. Many high resolution experimental observations show enormous intratumor heterogeneity at molecular, genetic and cellular levels which is made responsible for emerging resistance to therapy. Therefore, researchers search techniques to influence development of intratumor heterogeneity, which requires understanding its role within the
more » ... context of integrative, logically consistent, framework, such as evolutionary theory. Although it is agreed that intratumor heterogeneity increases probability of the emergence of therapy resistant clones, more instructive role of its structure in the process of cancer dynamics and metastasis is needed. In the paper, intratumor heterogeneity is viewed as a product of two, in general stochastic, processes, evolutionary optimization and changing environment, respectively. In evolutionary theory, common risk-diversifying strategy displayed by isogenic populations in unpredictably changing environments is bet-hedging. We suggest, that the structure of intratumor heterogeneity is evolutionary trait evolving to maximize the clonal fitness in changing (or uncertain) environment and that its structure corresponds to bet-hedging strategy. We advocate our view by reviewing and combining important cancer relevant concepts.
arXiv:1307.0607v1 fatcat:wntlg4ttfncqtlzs5d3fyhn3i4