Cancer research is at a crossroads. Traditionally, cancer has been thought
of as a disease of gene mutation, where the stepwise accumulation of cancer
gene mutations is the key, and the identification of common gene mutations has
been considered to be essential for diagnosis and treatment. Despite extensive
research efforts and accumulated knowledge on cancer genes and pathways, the
clinical benefits of this traditional approach have been limited. Recently,
cancer genome sequencing has revealed an extensive amount of genetic heterogeneity
where the long-expected common mutation drivers have been difficult, if not
impossible, to identify. These realities ultimately challenge the conceptual
framework of current cancer biology.
This book introduces a new concept of genome theory of cancer evolution, in an attempt to unify the field. Many important and representative, but often confusing, questions and paradoxes are critically analyzed. By comparing gene- and genome-based theories, the hidden flaws of many popular viewpoints are addressed. This discussion is intended to initiate a much-needed critical re-evaluation of current cancer research.
• Introduction: Why Debate Cancer, and Why Now?
• The Gene Mutation Theory of Cancer
• Alternative Theories to Explain Cancer
• The Surprise Cancer Genome Landscape Revealed by Cancer Genome Sequencing Projects
• Unraveling the Mystery of Cancer: Understanding Genome Variation Mediated Cancer Evolution
• Significance of the Insignificant: Why "Noise" is Essential for Cancer Evolution
• Do Different Cancers Represent Different Species?
• Facts vs. Myths