Understanding cancer evolution provides a clue to tackle therapeutic difficulties in colorectal cancer. In this review, together with related works, we will introduce a series of our studies, in which we constructed an evolutionary model of colorectal cancer by combining genomic analysis and mathematical modeling. In our model, multiple subclones were generated by driver mutation acquisition and subsequent clonal expansion in early-stage tumors. Among the subclones, the one obtaining driver copy number alterations is endowed with malignant potentials to constitute a late-stage tumor in which extensive intratumor heterogeneity is generated by the accumulation of neutral mutations. We will also discuss how to translate our understanding of cancer evolution to a solution to the problem related to therapeutic resistance: mathematical modeling suggests that relapse caused by acquired resistance could be suppressed by utilizing clonal competition between sensitive and resistant clones. Considering the current rate of technological development, modeling cancer evolution by combining genomic analysis and mathematical modeling will be an increasingly important approach for understanding and overcoming cancer.
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