The phenomenon of how oncogenes and tumor-suppressor mutations can synergize to promote tumor fitness and cancer progression can be studied in relatively simple animal model systems such as Drosophila melanogaster. Almost two decades after the landmark discovery of cooperative oncogenesis between oncogenic RasV12 and the loss of the tumor suppressor scribble in flies, this and other tumor models have provided new concepts and findings in cancer biology that has remarkable parallels and relevance to human cancer. Here we review findings using the RasV12; scrib-/- tumor model and how it has contributed to our understanding of how these initial simple genetic insults cooperate within the tumor cell to set in motion the malignant transformation program leading to tumor growth through cell growth, cell survival and proliferation, dismantling of cell-cell interactions, degradation of basement membrane and spreading to other organs. Recent findings have demonstrated that cooperativity goes beyond cell intrinsic mechanisms as the tumor interacts with the immediate cells of the microenvironment, the immune system and systemic organs to eventually facilitate malignant progression.
Keywords: cold-blooded cancer; cooperative oncogenesis; tumor/stroma interactions.