Evolutionary concepts such as mutation and selection can be best described when formulated as mathematical equations. Cancer arises as a consequence of somatic evolution. Therefore, a mathematical approach can be used to understand the process of cancer initiation and progression. But what are the fundamental principles that govern the dynamics of activating oncogenes and inactivating tumour-suppressor genes in populations of reproducing cells? Also, how does a quantitative theory of somatic mutation and selection help us to evaluate the role of genetic instability?
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