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Cancer Evolution

Tumour progression is driven by a process of clonal evolution. The importance of this process has been increasingly recognized over the past decade: tumour heterogeneity, the major cause of therapeutic resistance to antitumour agents, results from the genetic, epigenetic and microenvironmental selective pressure that tumour cells undergo during cancer progression.

In this collection, the cancer editorial community of the Nature journals presents the most recently published articles on cancer evolution. The topic is discussed from different complementary angles (preclinical, translational and clinical), and across a broad range of tumour types. This collection has been produced with exclusive support from EMD Serono. The collection content is editorially independent and the sole responsibility of Springer Nature.

Non-core collection

  • Nature | Article

    To address the question of whether a recurrent tumour is genetically similar to the tumour at diagnosis, the evolution of medulloblastoma has been studied in both an in vivo mouse model of clinical tumour therapy as well as in humans with recurrent disease; targeted tumour therapies are usually based on targets present in the tumour at diagnosis but the results from this study indicate that post-treatment recurring tumours (compared with the tumour at diagnosis) have undergone substantial clonal divergence of the initial dominant tumour clone.

    • A. Sorana Morrissy
    • , Livia Garzia
    • , David J. H. Shih
    • , Scott Zuyderduyn
    • , Xi Huang
    • , Patryk Skowron
    • , Marc Remke
    • , Florence M. G. Cavalli
    • , Vijay Ramaswamy
    • , Patricia E. Lindsay
    • , Salomeh Jelveh
    • , Laura K. Donovan
    • , Xin Wang
    • , Betty Luu
    • , Kory Zayne
    • , Yisu Li
    • , Chelsea Mayoh
    • , Nina Thiessen
    • , Eloi Mercier
    • , Karen L. Mungall
    • , Yusanne Ma
    • , Kane Tse
    • , Thomas Zeng
    • , Karey Shumansky
    • , Andrew J. L. Roth
    • , Sohrab Shah
    • , Hamza Farooq
    • , Noriyuki Kijima
    • , Borja L. Holgado
    • , John J. Y. Lee
    • , Stuart Matan-Lithwick
    • , Jessica Liu
    • , Stephen C. Mack
    • , Alex Manno
    • , K. A. Michealraj
    • , Carolina Nor
    • , John Peacock
    • , Lei Qin
    • , Juri Reimand
    • , Adi Rolider
    • , Yuan Y. Thompson
    • , Xiaochong Wu
    • , Trevor Pugh
    • , Adrian Ally
    • , Mikhail Bilenky
    • , Yaron S. N. Butterfield
    • , Rebecca Carlsen
    • , Young Cheng
    • , Eric Chuah
    • , Richard D. Corbett
    • , Noreen Dhalla
    • , An He
    • , Darlene Lee
    • , Haiyan I. Li
    • , William Long
    • , Michael Mayo
    • , Patrick Plettner
    • , Jenny Q. Qian
    • , Jacqueline E. Schein
    • , Angela Tam
    • , Tina Wong
    • , Inanc Birol
    • , Yongjun Zhao
    • , Claudia C. Faria
    • , José Pimentel
    • , Sofia Nunes
    • , Tarek Shalaby
    • , Michael Grotzer
    • , Ian F. Pollack
    • , Ronald L. Hamilton
    • , Xiao-Nan Li
    • , Anne E. Bendel
    • , Daniel W. Fults
    • , Andrew W. Walter
    • , Toshihiro Kumabe
    • , Teiji Tominaga
    • , V. Peter Collins
    • , Yoon-Jae Cho
    • , Caitlin Hoffman
    • , David Lyden
    • , Jeffrey H. Wisoff
    • , James H. Garvin
    • , Duncan S. Stearns
    • , Luca Massimi
    • , Ulrich Schüller
    • , Jaroslav Sterba
    • , Karel Zitterbart
    • , Stephanie Puget
    • , Olivier Ayrault
    • , Sandra E. Dunn
    • , Daniela P. C. Tirapelli
    • , Carlos G. Carlotti
    • , Helen Wheeler
    • , Andrew R. Hallahan
    • , Wendy Ingram
    • , Tobey J. MacDonald
    • , Jeffrey J. Olson
    • , Erwin G. Van Meir
    • , Ji-Yeoun Lee
    • , Kyu-Chang Wang
    • , Seung-Ki Kim
    • , Byung-Kyu Cho
    • , Torsten Pietsch
    • , Gudrun Fleischhack
    • , Stephan Tippelt
    • , Young Shin Ra
    • , Simon Bailey
    • , Janet C. Lindsey
    • , Steven C. Clifford
    • , Charles G. Eberhart
    • , Michael K. Cooper
    • , Roger J. Packer
    • , Maura Massimino
    • , Maria Luisa Garre
    • , Ute Bartels
    • , Uri Tabori
    • , Cynthia E. Hawkins
    • , Peter Dirks
    • , Eric Bouffet
    • , James T. Rutka
    • , Robert J. Wechsler-Reya
    • , William A. Weiss
    • , Lara S. Collier
    • , Adam J. Dupuy
    • , Andrey Korshunov
    • , David T. W. Jones
    • , Marcel Kool
    • , Paul A. Northcott
    • , Stefan M. Pfister
    • , David A. Largaespada
    • , Andrew J. Mungall
    • , Richard A. Moore
    • , Nada Jabado
    • , Gary D. Bader
    • , Steven J. M. Jones
    • , David Malkin
    • , Marco A. Marra
    •  &  Michael D. Taylor
  • Nature Biotechnology | Article

    Oncogenic driver mutations are identified in single cells by a transposon-based sequencing method.

    • Karen M Mann
    • , Justin Y Newberg
    • , Michael A Black
    • , Devin J Jones
    • , Felipe Amaya-Manzanares
    • , Liliana Guzman-Rojas
    • , Takahiro Kodama
    • , Jerrold M Ward
    • , Alistair G Rust
    • , Louise van der Weyden
    • , Christopher Chin Kuan Yew
    • , Jill L Waters
    • , Marco L Leung
    • , Keith Rogers
    • , Susan M Rogers
    • , Leslie A McNoe
    • , Luxmanan Selvanesan
    • , Nicholas Navin
    • , Nancy A Jenkins
    • , Neal G Copeland
    •  &  Michael B Mann
  • Nature Reviews Genetics | Review Article

    Genomic analyses of cancer genomes have largely focused on mutations in protein-coding regions, but the functional importance of alterations to non-coding regions is becoming increasingly appreciated through whole-genome sequencing. This Review discusses our current understanding of non-coding sequence variants in cancer — both somatic mutations and germline variants, and their interplay — including their identification, computational and experimental evidence for functional impact, and their diverse mechanisms of action for dysregulating coding genes and non-coding RNAs.

    • Ekta Khurana
    • , Yao Fu
    • , Dimple Chakravarty
    • , Francesca Demichelis
    • , Mark A. Rubin
    •  &  Mark Gerstein
  • Nature Genetics | Article

    Nicholas Navin and colleagues use highly multiplexed single-nucleus sequencing to investigate DNA copy number evolution in patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Their data suggest that most copy number alterations are acquired at the earliest stages of tumor evolution in short punctuated bursts, followed by stable clonal expansions that form the tumor mass.

    • Ruli Gao
    • , Alexander Davis
    • , Thomas O McDonald
    • , Emi Sei
    • , Xiuqing Shi
    • , Yong Wang
    • , Pei-Ching Tsai
    • , Anna Casasent
    • , Jill Waters
    • , Hong Zhang
    • , Funda Meric-Bernstam
    • , Franziska Michor
    •  &  Nicholas E Navin
  • Nature Protocols | Protocol

    Friedrich et al. describe their toolkit for transposon-based insertional mutagenesis in mice for discovering cancer genes. Genome-wide transposon insertion sites are identified, mapped and quantified using QiSeq.

    • Mathias J Friedrich
    • , Lena Rad
    • , Iraad F Bronner
    • , Alexander Strong
    • , Wei Wang
    • , Julia Weber
    • , Matthew Mayho
    • , Hannes Ponstingl
    • , Thomas Engleitner
    • , Carolyn Grove
    • , Anja Pfaus
    • , Dieter Saur
    • , Juan Cadiñanos
    • , Michael A Quail
    • , George S Vassiliou
    • , Pentao Liu
    • , Allan Bradley
    •  &  Roland Rad
  • Nature Reviews Cancer | Review Article

    Although most cancers exhibit some degree of intratumour heterogeneity, we are far from understanding the dynamics that operate among subclonal populations within tumours. This Review discusses the growing evidence that cooperative behaviour of tumour subclones can influence disease progression.

    • Doris P. Tabassum
    •  &  Kornelia Polyak

Core collection - FREE

  • Nature | Letter

    Patient-derived circulating tumour cells are used to characterize the dynamics and underlying plasticity of HER2 expression in non-HER2-amplified breast tumours.

    • Nicole Vincent Jordan
    • , Aditya Bardia
    • , Ben S. Wittner
    • , Cyril Benes
    • , Matteo Ligorio
    • , Yu Zheng
    • , Min Yu
    • , Tilak K. Sundaresan
    • , Joseph A. Licausi
    • , Rushil Desai
    • , Ryan M. O’Keefe
    • , Richard Y. Ebright
    • , Myriam Boukhali
    • , Srinjoy Sil
    • , Maristela L. Onozato
    • , Anthony J. Iafrate
    • , Ravi Kapur
    • , Dennis Sgroi
    • , David T. Ting
    • , Mehmet Toner
    • , Sridhar Ramaswamy
    • , Wilhelm Haas
    • , Shyamala Maheswaran
    •  &  Daniel A. Haber
  • Nature Biotechnology | Article

    An ex vivo model of human colon cancer enables study of the drivers of tumor development and invasion.

    • Huanhuan Joyce Chen
    • , Zhubo Wei
    • , Jian Sun
    • , Asmita Bhattacharya
    • , David J Savage
    • , Rita Serda
    • , Yuri Mackeyev
    • , Steven A Curley
    • , Pengcheng Bu
    • , Lihua Wang
    • , Shuibing Chen
    • , Leona Cohen-Gould
    • , Emina Huang
    • , Xiling Shen
    • , Steven M Lipkin
    • , Neal G Copeland
    • , Nancy A Jenkins
    •  &  Michael L Shuler
  • Nature Genetics | Article

    Raul Rabadan, Antonio Iavarone, Gaetano Finocchiaro, Do-Hyun Nam and colleagues analyze longitudinal genomic and transcriptomic data from 114 patients with glioblastoma. They find that relapse-associated clones typically exist before diagnosis, that expression subtypes are not stable under therapy and that recurrence tumors harbor specific alterations in several genes, including LTBP4 and MGMT.

    • Jiguang Wang
    • , Emanuela Cazzato
    • , Erik Ladewig
    • , Veronique Frattini
    • , Daniel I S Rosenbloom
    • , Sakellarios Zairis
    • , Francesco Abate
    • , Zhaoqi Liu
    • , Oliver Elliott
    • , Yong-Jae Shin
    • , Jin-Ku Lee
    • , In-Hee Lee
    • , Woong-Yang Park
    • , Marica Eoli
    • , Andrew J Blumberg
    • , Anna Lasorella
    • , Do-Hyun Nam
    • , Gaetano Finocchiaro
    • , Antonio Iavarone
    •  &  Raul Rabadan
  • Nature Medicine | Article

    Drug-tolerant but initially EGFRT790M-negative tumor cells that undergo genetic evolution to acquire resistance to EGFR inhibitors are more resistant than pre-existing EGFRT790M -positive clones to subsequent therapy.

    • Aaron N Hata
    • , Matthew J Niederst
    • , Hannah L Archibald
    • , Maria Gomez-Caraballo
    • , Faria M Siddiqui
    • , Hillary E Mulvey
    • , Yosef E Maruvka
    • , Fei Ji
    • , Hyo-eun C Bhang
    • , Viveksagar Krishnamurthy Radhakrishna
    • , Giulia Siravegna
    • , Haichuan Hu
    • , Sana Raoof
    • , Elizabeth Lockerman
    • , Anuj Kalsy
    • , Dana Lee
    • , Celina L Keating
    • , David A Ruddy
    • , Leah J Damon
    • , Adam S Crystal
    • , Carlotta Costa
    • , Zofia Piotrowska
    • , Alberto Bardelli
    • , Anthony J Iafrate
    • , Ruslan I Sadreyev
    • , Frank Stegmeier
    • , Gad Getz
    • , Lecia V Sequist
    • , Anthony C Faber
    •  &  Jeffrey A Engelman
  • Nature Reviews Cancer | Review Article

    This Review brings many aspects of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma research into a single concept rooted in Darwinian evolution, with the goal of identifying novel insights and opportunities for future study.

    • Alvin Makohon-Moore
    •  &  Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue
  • Nature Cell Biology | Article

    Galanos and colleagues observe p21 accumulation in proliferating cancer cells, and show that in cultured p53-null cells, p21 can cause genomic instability by perturbing replication licensing through inhibition of the CRL4-CDT ubiquitin ligase.

    • Panagiotis Galanos
    • , Konstantinos Vougas
    • , David Walter
    • , Alexander Polyzos
    • , Apolinar Maya-Mendoza
    • , Emma J. Haagensen
    • , Antonis Kokkalis
    • , Fani-Marlen Roumelioti
    • , Sarantis Gagos
    • , Maria Tzetis
    • , Begoña Canovas
    • , Ana Igea
    • , Akshay K. Ahuja
    • , Ralph Zellweger
    • , Sofia Havaki
    • , Emanuel Kanavakis
    • , Dimitris Kletsas
    • , Igor B. Roninson
    • , Spiros D. Garbis
    • , Massimo Lopes
    • , Angel Nebreda
    • , Dimitris Thanos
    • , J. Julian Blow
    • , Paul Townsend
    • , Claus Storgaard Sørensen
    • , Jiri Bartek
    •  &  Vassilis G. Gorgoulis