The causes and consequences of genetic heterogeneity in cancer evolution
Authors listRebecca A Burrell Nicholas McGranahan Jiri Bartek Charles Swanton
Recent studies have revealed extensive genetic diversity both between and within tumours. This heterogeneity affects key cancer pathways, driving phenotypic variation, and poses a significant challenge to personalized cancer medicine. A major cause of genetic heterogeneity in cancer is genomic instability. This instability leads to an increased mutation rate and can shape the evolution of the cancer genome through a plethora of mechanisms. By understanding these mechanisms we can gain insight into the common pathways of tumour evolution that could support the development of future therapeutic strategies.