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Measuring Clonal Evolution in Cancer with Genomics

Authors
  • Williams, Marc J.
  • Sottoriva, Andrea
  • Graham, Trevor A.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Aug 31, 2019
Volume
20
Pages
309–329
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-genom-083117-021712
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Cancers originate from somatic cells in the human body that have accumulated genetic alterations. These mutations modify the phenotype of the cells, allowing them to escape the homeostatic regulation that maintains normal cell number. Viewed through the lens of evolutionary biology, the transformation of normal cells into malignant cells is evolution in action. Evolution continues throughout cancer growth, progression, treatment resistance, and disease relapse, driven by adaptation to changes in the cancer's environment, and intratumor heterogeneity is an inevitable consequence of this evolutionary process. Genomics provides a powerful means to characterize tumor evolution, enabling quantitative measurement of evolving clones across space and time. In this review, we discuss concepts and approaches to quantify and measure this evolutionary process in cancer using genomics.

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