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Polyaneuploid Cancer Cell Dormancy: Lessons From Evolutionary Phyla

Authors
  • Kostecka, Laurie G.1, 2
  • Pienta, Kenneth J.1, 2
  • Amend, Sarah R.1, 2
  • 1 Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, The Brady Urological Institute, Baltimore, MD , (United States)
  • 2 Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publisher
Frontiers Media S.A.
Publication Date
Jul 07, 2021
Volume
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2021.660755
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Review
License
Green

Abstract

Dormancy is a key survival strategy in many organisms across the tree of life. Organisms that utilize some type of dormancy (hibernation, aestivation, brumation, diapause, and quiescence) are able to survive in habitats that would otherwise be uninhabitable. Induction into dormant states is typically caused by environmental stress. While organisms are dormant, their physical activity is minimal, and their metabolic rates are severely depressed (hypometabolism). These metabolic reductions allow for the conservation and distribution of energy while conditions in the environment are poor. When conditions are more favorable, the organisms are then able to come out of dormancy and reengage in their environment. Polyaneuploid cancer cells (PACCs), proposed mediators of cancer metastasis and resistance, access evolutionary programs and employ dormancy as a survival mechanism in response to stress. Quiescence, the type of dormancy observed in PACCs, allows these cells the ability to survive stressful conditions (e.g., hypoxia in the microenvironment, transiting the bloodstream during metastasis, and exposure to chemotherapy) by downregulating and altering metabolic function, but then increasing metabolic activities again once stress has passed. We can gain insights regarding the mechanisms underlying PACC dormancy by looking to the evolution of dormancy in different organisms.

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