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In search of cancer's common ground: A next-generation view
Date:3/3/2011

s also introduce two enabling hallmarks -- genomic instability and inflammation and two emerging hallmarks evasion of the immune system and reprogrammed energy metabolism.

Enabling characteristics set the stage for cancer, Hanahan explained. Genomic instability results in rare mutations that contribute to the regulation or functional mechanics of cancer's acquired capabilities. Inflammation of tumors mistaken for wounds by the immune system brings in wound-healing cells that inadvertently encourage proliferation, angiogenesis, and invasion.

Emerging hallmarks, on the other hand, are features that are beginning to appear as though they may be core features in nearly all cancers based on recent evidence. "While not yet clearly documented to be widespread or ubiquitous in cancers, they may well become so over the coming years," Weinberg said.

Understanding these principles has implications for cancer treatment.

"Drugs targeting each discrete hallmark or enabling characteristic are either clinically approved or are in clinical development, but virtually all show limited benefit due to the development of resistance," Hanahan said. "We pose the reasonable - but far from certain - hypothesis, that by co-targeting multiple hallmarks, drug resistance may be more difficult for a cancer to achieve, thereby producing more enduring clinical benefits for cancer patients."

Ultimately, though, it all comes down to one simple notion: "As before, we believe that there is much to be gained from stepping back and understanding the basic principles of cancer biology rather than burrowing deeply into its myriad details," Weinberg said.


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Contact: Elisabeth (Lisa) Lyons
elyons@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

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