Cellular Heterogeneity and Molecular Evolution in Cancer

Annu Rev Pathol. 2013 Jan 24;8:277-302. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-020712-163923. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Abstract

Intratumor heterogeneity represents a major obstacle to effective cancer treatment and personalized medicine. However, investigators are now elucidating intratumor heterogeneity at the single-cell level due to improvements in technologies. Better understanding of the composition of tumors, and monitoring changes in cell populations during disease progression and treatment, will improve cancer diagnosis and therapeutic design. Measurements of intratumor heterogeneity may also be used as biomarkers to predict the risk of progression and therapeutic resistance. We summarize important considerations related to intratumor heterogeneity during tumor evolution. We also discuss experimental approaches that are commonly used to infer intratumor heterogeneity and describe how these methodologies can be translated into clinical practice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*