Stochastic elimination of cancer cells

Franziska Michor, Martin A. Nowak, Steven A. Frank, Yoh Iwasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tissues of multicellular organisms consist of stem cells and differentiated cells. Stem cells divide to produce new stem cells or differentiated cells. Differentiated cells divide to produce new differentiated cells. We show that such a tissue design can reduce the rate of fixation of mutations that increase the net proliferation rate of cells. It has, however, no consequence for the rate of fixation of neutral mutations. We calculate the optimum relative abundance of stem cells that minimizes the rate of generating cancer cells. There is a critical fraction of stem cell divisions that is required for a stochastic elimination ('wash out') of cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2017-2024
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume270
Issue number1528
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 7 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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