Systems biology of tumor dormancy: linking biology and mathematics on multiple scales to improve cancer therapy

Cancer Res. 2012 May 1;72(9):2172-5. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3269. Epub 2012 Mar 13.


For many decades, it has been appreciated that tumor progression is not monotonic, and development of a cancer cell does not equate to inevitable cancer presentation in the clinic. Tumor progression is challenged by numerous intrinsic and extrinsic bottlenecks that can hold the tumor in dormant stages for prolonged periods. Given the complex, multiscale nature of these bottlenecks, the Center of Cancer Systems Biology organized a workshop on critical issues of systems biology of tumor dormancy. The program for the meeting this past July, chaired by N. Almog and H. Enderling, included discussions and interactive breakout sessions on regulation of tumor dormancy by angiogenesis, tumor-immune system interactions, cancer stem cell kinetics, and cell signaling pathways. Three important conclusions emerged from the meeting. The first was the urgent need to differentiate between tumor cell and tumor population dormancy of the primary tumor and metastatic deposits, the second was the continued need for interdisciplinary dialogs, and the third was the need to bring cross-scale mechanistic thinking to the field to achieve a more robust understanding of tumor dormancy and its clinical implications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Systems Biology / methods*