Mutation, selection and metastasis

Mutation and selection are important concepts in cancer biology. One well-known example is hereditary colon cancer. Patients with mutations in the DNA mismatch repair genes MLH1 or MSH2 develop colon cancer because of an increased rate of mutations. And tumors in patients with familial polyposis coli have a growth advantage because of a mutation in the tumor suppressor gene APC. Mutations and selection also help to explain the process of metastasis, the formation of secondary tumor foci at distant sites in the body. Understanding metastasis is important, because it is often this spread of the tumor that makes a previously localized cancer an incurable disease.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at