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Ecology and Evolution of Cancer - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128043103, 9780128043806

Ecology and Evolution of Cancer

1st Edition

Editors: Beata Ujvari Benjamin Roche Frederic Thomas
Paperback ISBN: 9780128043103
eBook ISBN: 9780128043806
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 8th February 2017
Page Count: 290
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Ecology and Evolution of Cancer is a timely work outlining ideas that not only represent a substantial and original contribution to the fields of evolution, ecology, and cancer, but also goes beyond by connecting the interfaces of these disciplines. This work engages the expertise of a multidisciplinary research team to collate and review the latest knowledge and developments in this exciting research field.

The evolutionary perspective of cancer has gained significant international recognition and interest, which is fully understandable given that somatic cellular selection and evolution are elegant explanations for carcinogenesis. Cancer is now generally accepted to be an evolutionary and ecological process with complex interactions between tumor cells and their environment sharing many similarities with organismal evolution. As a critical contribution to this field of research the book is important and relevant for the applications of evolutionary biology to understand the origin of cancers, to control neoplastic progression, and to prevent therapeutic failures.

Key Features

  • Covers all aspects of the evolution of cancer, appealing to researchers seeking to understand its origins and effects of treatments on its progression, as well as to lecturers in evolutionary medicine
  • Functions as both an introduction to cancer and evolution and a review of the current research on this burgeoning, exciting field, presented by an international group of leading editors and contributors
  • Improves understanding of the origin and the evolution of cancer, aiding efforts to determine how this disease interferes with biotic interactions that govern ecosystems
  • Highlights research that intends to apply evolutionary principles to help predict emergence and metastatic progression with the aim of improving therapies


A broad international audience that includes medical, animal, cancer, evolutionary biology and ecology researchers, as well as students and academics in these areas

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Evolutionary Origins of Cancer and of Its Control by Immune Policing and Genetic Suppression

  • Abstract
  • Lineage selection
  • Immune system policing
  • Cancer suppression
  • Evolution and Peto’s paradox
  • Why does cancer persist?
  • Conclusions

Chapter 2: Cancer Prevalence and Etiology in Wild and Captive Animals

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Cancer prevalence and etiology in wild vertebrates
  • Cancer etiology and prevalence in French zoological parks
  • Discussion
  • Concluding remarks
  • Acknowledgments

Chapter 3: Infection and Cancer in Nature

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Infectious causes of cancer
  • Findings suggestive of pathogen-induced cancer in nature
  • Associations between nonmalignant neoplasia and cancer
  • Joint contributions to oncogenesis
  • A broadening scope for interventions
  • Acknowledgments

Chapter 4: Pseudohypoxia: Life at the Edge

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Distinguishing pseudohypoxia from hypoxia
  • Pseudohypoxia: tumor edge versus core
  • Modeling of pseudohypoxia
  • Pseudohypoxia at the microscopic level
  • Tumor edge
  • Tumor core
  • Conclusions

Chapter 5: The Genomic Landscape of Cancers

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Key features and challenges of the cancer genomic landscape
  • Genome theory of somatic cell evolution
  • Implications and future directions
  • Acknowledgments

Chapter 6: The Epigenetic Component in Cancer Evolution

  • Abstract
  • The genotype × environment concept
  • DNA methylation
  • Histone modifications
  • Nuclear topography and noncoding RNA
  • Conclusions

Chapter 7: Evolution of Cancer Defense Mechanisms Across Species

  • Abstract
  • Mechanisms of cancer suppression: organismal, microenvironmental, and molecular
  • A life history perspective: organismal level trade-offs in cancer suppression
  • Conclusions

Chapter 8: Coevolution of Tumor Cells and Their Microenvironment: “Niche Construction in Cancer”

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The consequences of tumor-stroma metabolic compartmentation and collaboration
  • Conclusions

Chapter 9: Evolutionary Perspective of Tumorigenesis and Antitumor Immunity: A Comparative Approach

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Immunology of cancer
  • Strategies of tumor immune evasion
  • Immunoediting
  • Tumors in invertebrates and ectothermic vertebrates
  • Evolution of immunity and tumor immunity
  • Immunotherapies
  • Overview of animal model system used to investigate the role of immune system in cancer
  • Amphibians as model systems to explore the evolutionary conservation of tumor immunity
  • The Xenopus immune system
  • Transplantable thymic lymphoid tumor cell lines
  • Tumor immunity in X. laevis
  • Conservation of antitumor properties of heat shock proteins
  • Conserved roles of nonclassical MHC and innate T cells in tumor immunity
  • Xenopus tadpole tumor model
  • Conclusions and perspectives
  • Acknowledgments

Chapter 10: The Response of Cancer Cell Populations to Therapies

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Summary and outlook on therapeutic strategies

Chapter 11: Ecology of the Metastatic Process

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Introduction to metastasis
  • Introduction to invasion ecology
  • Metastasis and invasion ecology—a novel framework for clinical treatment?
  • What is special about the invasion ecology of cancer cells?
  • Filtering concepts as limits to metastatic success
  • Subsequent evolution and therapy
  • Conclusions

Chapter 12: Transmissible Cancer: The Evolution of Interindividual Metastasis

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Contagious cancers with no underlying infectious etiologies
  • Mechanisms involved in cancer transmission
  • Tug-of-war: evolution of transmissible cancers and their hosts
  • The ecological impact of cancer cells on the hosts’ micro- and macroenvironment
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments

Chapter 13: Cancer in Animals: Reciprocal Feedbacks Between Evolution of Cancer Resistance and Ecosystem Functioning

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Cancer in wildlife: where are we?
  • How does natural selection deal with cancer risk?
  • Impact of cancer on ecological communities
  • Discussion

Chapter 14: Applying Tools From Evolutionary Biology to Cancer Research

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Adapt or die (adaptive therapy)
  • All at once it is not always the best thing (the double bind theory)
  • No double pain, no double gain (the cost of being resistant)
  • Concluding remarks, drawbacks, and future directions
  • Section: Perspectives

Chapter 15: Understanding Ancient Legacies to Expose and Exploit Cancer’s Evolutionary Vulnerabilities

  • Abstract
  • A new light on old paradigms
  • Moving forward by looking back
  • Exposing and exploiting evolutionary vulnerabilities
  • Concluding remarks

Chapter 16: Atavism Theory—An Introductory Discourse

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The nature of cancer
  • Therapeutic implications
  • Conclusions

Chapter 17: Toward an Ultimate Explanation of Intratumor Heterogeneity

  • Abstract
  • From cooperation to selfishness and back to (malignant) cooperation
  • De novo tumor development—from an individual cell to a cooperating organized system
  • Bet-hedging as evolutionary response to unpredictable tumor environment
  • Predictions and implications
  • Concluding remarks

Chapter 18: Obstacles to the Darwinian Framework of Somatic Cancer Evolution

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Challenge #1: The dominance of gene and mutation-centric paradigms
  • Challenge #2: Complex inputs shaping the phenotypes of cancer cells
  • Challenge #3: Unique and powerful sources of phenotypic variability
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments

Chapter 19: Cancer as a Disease of Homeostasis: An Angiogenesis Perspective

  • Abstract
  • Introduction to neovascularization
  • Pathological angiogenesis and musical chairs
  • Tumor-induced stromal stimulation and time to escape from tumor dormancy

Chapter 20: Dormancy: An Evolutionary Key Phenomenon in Cancer Development

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Dormancy in tumor evolution
  • Dormancy in species evolution
  • Linking evolutionary concepts to the investigation of tumor dormancy
  • Conclusions

Chapter 21: Controlling Rogue Cells in Cancer and Bacterial Infections

  • Abstract
  • Killing the rogues—sparing the rest
  • Preventing resistance to treatment
  • Discussion
  • Acknowledgments

Chapter 22: Searching for a Cancer-Proof Organism: It’s the Journey That Teaches You About the Destination

  • Abstract
  • Insights from life history theory
  • Body size and cancer risk
  • Evolved cancer defenses
  • A macroevolutionary perspective
  • Since when has cancer been plaguing us?
  • Sex and cancer
  • Can a cancer-proof organism really exist?
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments

Chapter 23: Ecology, Evolution, and the Cancer Patient

  • Acknowledgment


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2017
8th February 2017
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Editors

Beata Ujvari

Beata Ujvari is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University, Australia. She will take up a senior lecturer position in Bioinformatics and Genetics at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University from January 2017. She has been the Chair of the Comparative Oncology Special Interest Group, Cancer Research Network, University of Sydney (2012- 2014), a member of the program and organizing committee for the Sydney Cancer Conference and member of the program committee for the VetSci conference (2013-2014). As an evolutionary ecologist, her research focuses on the interaction between organisms and their environment and these effects on organismal fitness, particularly with the aim to explore the significance of genetic and epigenetic organismal responses to both macro- and micro environmental challenges. Dr Ujvari has authored more than 90 refereed journal articles, book chapters and conference papers, including multidisciplinary topics such as evolution, animal behavior, and ecology as they relate to cancer.

Affiliations and Expertise

Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Australia

Benjamin Roche

Benjamin Roche is a researcher at the at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Research on Cancer (CREEC) and at Research Institute for Development (IRD) in the UMMISCO lab (International Research Unit for Mathematical and Computational Modeling of Complex Systems). With a background in theoretical modeling and evolutionary ecology, he has authored more than 60 scientific papers in international scientific journals focusing on evolutionary ecology of infectious diseases, ecology and evolution of cancer or public health. His cancer research is focusing on projects related to the role of ecology and evolution processes in cancerous cell proliferation, with particular interests in tumor ecology, the indirect role of infectious diseases in cancer incidence through an eco-immunological perspective and Peto’s paradox (or how to identify natural resistance to cancer in wildlife animals).

Affiliations and Expertise

Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Research on Cancer (CREEC), MIVEGEC Laboratory (Infectious Diseases and Vectors: Ecology, Genetics, Evolution and Control) and International Center for Mathematical and Computational Modeling of Complex Systems, (UMMISCO Laboratory, UMI IRD/UPMC 209), Montpellier, France

Frederic Thomas

Frédéric Thomas is Directeur de Recherches at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Research on Cancer (CREEC), and UMR CNRS (Maladies Infectieuses et Vecteurs: Ecologie, Génétique, Evolution et Contrôle), both in Montpellier, France. He has authored or co-authored more than 195 refereed journal articles (with more than 5570 citations) on topics such as cancer, disease, and evolutionary biology, and animal behaviour, as well as co-edited 11 books on biodiversity, ecology, evolution, and parasitism. He is frequently invited to present at international meetings and is Associate Editor of both the Journal of Evolutionary Medicine and Evolutionary Applications.

Affiliations and Expertise

Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Research on Cancer, Montpellier, France

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