Characterizing the mode – the way, manner, or pattern – of evolution in tumours is important for clinical forecasting and optimizing cancer treatment. DNA sequencing studies have inferred various modes, including branching, punctuated and neutral evolution, but it is unclear why a particular pattern predominates in any given tumour.1, 2 Here we propose that differences in tumour architecture alone can explain the variety of observed patterns. We examine this hypothesis using spatially explicit population genetic models and demonstrate that, within biologically relevant parameter ranges, human tumours are expected to exhibit four distinct onco-evolutionary modes (oncoevotypes): rapid clonal expansion (predicted in leukaemia); progressive diversification (in colorectal adenomas and early-stage colorectal carcinomas); branching evolution (in invasive glandular tumours); and effectively almost neutral evolution (in certain non-glandular and poorly differentiated solid tumours). We thus provide a simple, mechanistic explanation for a wide range of empirical observations. Oncoevotypes are governed by the mode of cell dispersal and the range of cell-cell interaction, which we show are essential factors in accurately characterizing, forecasting and controlling tumour evolution.
This preprint is a collaboration with Rob Noble
Full text here: https://doi.org/10.1101/586735