The origins and implications of intratumor heterogeneity

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 Nov;3(11):1361-4. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-10-0234. Epub 2010 Oct 19.


Human tumors often display startling intratumor heterogeneity in various features including histology, gene expression, genotype, and metastatic and proliferative potential. This phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity plays an important role in neoplasia, cancer progression, and therapeutic resistance. In this issue of the journal (beginning on page 1388), Merlo et al. report their use of molecular data from 239 patients with Barrett's esophagus to evaluate the propensity of major diversity indices for predicting progression to esophageal adenocarcinoma. This work helps elucidate the implications of molecular heterogeneity for the evolution of neoplasia.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Barrett Esophagus / genetics
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*