Human cancers express mutator phenotypes: origin, consequences and targeting

Nat Rev Cancer. 2011 Jun;11(6):450-7. doi: 10.1038/nrc3063. Epub 2011 May 19.


Recent data on DNA sequencing of human tumours have established that cancer cells contain thousands of mutations. These data support the concept that cancer cells express a mutator phenotype. This Perspective considers the evidence supporting the mutator phenotype hypothesis, the origin and consequences of a mutator phenotype, the implications for personalized medicine and the feasibility of ablating tumours by error catastrophe.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA