Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Emerging Hallmarks of Cancer

Very good read!

via MassGenomics by Dan Koboldt on 12/09/11

In 2000, Hanahan and Weinberg published a landmark article in which they described the "hallmarks of cancer" – six biological capabilities acquired during the multi-step development of human tumors. It went on to become the most-cited Cell article of all time. In a follow-up article this year, the authors revisit their conceptual framework for cancer biology, incorporating the remarkable progress in cancer research that was made over the last decade.
The authors conclude that their six hallmarks – sustained proliferative signaling, evading growth suppression, resisting cell death, replicative immortality, induction of angiogenesis, and invasion/metastasis – continue to provide a useful conceptual framework for understanding the biology of cancer. Further, they present two new hallmarks – reprogramming of energy metabolism and evasion of immune destruction – that have emerged as critical capabilities of cancer cells.

In coming years, thousands of tumors will be characterized by ever-more high-throughput technologies, such as massively parallel sequencing. Collecting the data is no longer the obstacle; instead, the true challenges lie in analysis and interpretation. Hanahan and Weinberg humbly describe their hallmarks as "organizing principles" for thinking about why cancer cells do what they do. Conceivably, fitting new catalogues of genetic alterations to this model of acquired capabilities will help us better understand the relationship between genotype (genetic susceptibility and somatic mutation) and phenotype (tumor development, growth, and metastasis).
Hanahan D, & Weinberg RA (2011). Hallmarks of cancer: the next generation. Cell, 144 (5), 646-74 PMID: 21376230

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