Neoplasms amenable to somatic evolutionary studies

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Premalignant conditions we can study longitudinally

Animal carcinogen models

  • mouse skin
  • rat Barrett’s esophagus
  • mouse colonoscope for colorectal cancer


  • rate of progression
  • time to relapse
  • manipulate the rate of progression
  • similarity of adaptive landscapes across tumors
  • parallel between mouse and human adaptive landscape

What we can study today in human neoplasms

  • hematopoietic (blood samples)
  • bladder (urine samples)
  • lung cancer (fiberoptics, sputum, spiral CT)
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Gastric pre-malignant lesions
  • Oral cavity (oral leukoplakia)
  • breast (DCIS studies, some people may leave it in)
  • Prostate (elevated PSA may trigger multiple biopsies)
  • Ulcerative colitis

Premalignant systems that will take significant workup

What we can do tomorrow (minimal changes to standard of care)

  • GI (fecal samples? may take assay development)
  • Squamous esophagus (in China or other places)
  • cervical (serial pap smears? issue of potential malpractice if lesion was missed)

What we can do 5+ years from now (more significant changes)

  • Skin
    • hard because it is often completely removed
    • may be able to look at surrounding tissue (check normal margins on resection to see if genetic abnormality)
    • We may be able to convince clinicians to check adjacent tissue if we can justify it

Malignancies (to study resistance to therapy)

What we can do today (not a complete or accurate list)

  • Hematopoietic neoplasms
  • Bladder
  • Oral cancer
  • Lung has been done to study resistance
  • Prostate
  • Colon (with liver metastases)
  • Brain cancers (serial debulking? Imaging is very common) - Sidransky?
  • melanoma with metastases
    • dermatologists are not usually involved in cancer research, which is a problem
    • may not include biopsies of mets
  • childhood cancers and second tumors later - long follow-up (UNM, Penn)
  • Anything where we can get before/after tissue samples or sample before treatment and tumor growth dynamics (or other measures) after treatment