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The evolution of resistance and tolerance as cancer defences


Thomas, F and Giraudeau, M and Gouzerh, F and Boutry, J and Renaud, F and Pujol, P and Tasiemski, A and Bernex, F and Maraver, A and Bousquet, E and Dormont, L and Osterkamp, J and Roche, B and Hamede, R and Ujvari, B, The evolution of resistance and tolerance as cancer defences, Parasitology, 147, (3) pp. 255-262. ISSN 0031-1820 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Cambridge University Press 2019

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0031182019001501


Although there is a plethora of cancer associated-factors that can ultimately culminate in death (cachexia, organ impairment, metastases, opportunistic infections, etc.), the focal element of every terminal malignancy is the failure of our natural defences to control unlimited cell proliferation. The reasons why our defences apparently lack efficiency is a complex question, potentially indicating that, under Darwinian terms, solutions other than preventing cancer progression are also important contributors. In analogy with host-parasite systems, we propose to call this latter option 'tolerance' to cancer. Here, we argue that the ubiquity of oncogenic processes among metazoans is at least partially attributable to both the limitations of resistance mechanisms and to the evolution of tolerance to cancer. Deciphering the ecological contexts of alternative responses to the cancer burden is not a semantic question, but rather a focal point in understanding the evolutionary ecology of host-tumour relationships, the evolution of our defences, as well as why and when certain cancers are likely to be detrimental for survival.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cancer, resistance, tolerance
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Oncology and carcinogenesis
Research Field:Cancer genetics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Hamede, R (Dr Rodrigo Hamede Ross)
UTAS Author:Ujvari, B (Dr Beata Ujvari)
ID Code:152885
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Research Performance and Analysis
Deposited On:2022-08-26
Last Modified:2022-09-07

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