The Hallmarks of Cancer as Ecologically Driven Phenotypes

Journal Article (Review;Journal)

Ecological fitness is the ability of individuals in a population to survive and reproduce. Individuals with increased fitness are better equipped to withstand the selective pressures of their environments. This paradigm pertains to all organismal life as we know it; however, it is also becoming increasingly clear that within multicellular organisms exist highly complex, competitive, and cooperative populations of cells under many of the same ecological and evolutionary constraints as populations of individuals in nature. In this review I discuss the parallels between populations of cancer cells and populations of individuals in the wild, highlighting how individuals in either context are constrained by their environments to converge on a small number of critical phenotypes to ensure survival and future reproductive success. I argue that the hallmarks of cancer can be distilled into key phenotypes necessary for cancer cell fitness: survival and reproduction. I posit that for therapeutic strategies to be maximally beneficial, they should seek to subvert these ecologically driven phenotypic responses.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Somarelli, JA

Published Date

  • April 28, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 /

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2296-701X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3389/fevo.2021.661583

Citation Source

  • Scopus