Tumour heterogeneity

Tumour heterogeneity describes differences between tumours of the same type in different patients, and between cancer cells within a tumour. Both can lead to different responses to therapy. Genetic and epigenetic differences between cancer cells within a tumour might explain why some tumour cells remain present in the patient after cancer treatment has finished.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Cellular plasticity allows tumours to adapt to and overcome therapeutic challenges. A recent study uncovered the gene regulatory networks that govern cell states and phenotype switching in melanoma, opening up possibilities to therapeutically target cell states or phenotypic plasticity to render melanoma cells more vulnerable to treatment.

    • Nicole M. Aiello-Couzo
    •  & Yibin Kang
    Nature Cell Biology 22, 913-914
  • News and Views |

    SABR-COMET was the first randomized controlled trial to demonstrate an overall survival benefit with the use of stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) for the treatment of oligometastatic cancer. Considering the recently reported long-term follow-up data from SABR-COMET, we review the outcomes and limitations of this study in the context of other emerging information on therapy for oligometastatic disease.

    • Tyler P. Robin
    •  & Jeffrey R. Olsen
  • News and Views |

    Small-cell lung cancer rapidly develops resistance to standard-of-care therapy. Two papers now establish xenograft models derived from patient-derived circulating tumor cells and show that initially homogeneous, chemoresponsive tumors rapidly recur as heterogeneous drug-refractory disease.

    • Anton Berns
    Nature Cancer 1, 374-375
  • News and Views |

    To demonstrate the long-range effects of CD8+ T cell–secreted interferon-γ on bystander tumor cells, two studies now use mosaic models of antigen loss in tumors combined with intravital imaging. Factors that influence the length scale of diffusible signals could shape disease progression in cancer and autoimmunity.

    • Kenneth H. Hu
    •  & Matthew F. Krummel
    Nature Cancer 1, 270-272