[Back to Issue 4 ToC] [Back to Journal Contents] [Back to Biochemistry (Moscow) Home page]

REVIEW: Carcinogenesis: Evolution of Concepts

A. V. Lichtenstein

Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Center, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Kashirskoe Shosse 24, 115478 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 324-1205; E-mail: alicht@online.ru

Received August 5, 2008; Revision received September 30, 2008
Cancer is considered as an unintended consequence of internal imperfection of multicellular organisms: Darwinian evolution “does not foresee the future and does not plan for it”, it is forced to handle only anything that it has at a given moment “at hand”, which makes inevitable compromises and restrictions. In this case, there are a number of founding dogmas including mutagenesis as the main driving force of carcinogenesis; the environment as the main source of mutagenic effects; tumor monoclonality; cancer cell multistage transformation as Darwinian process of successive mutation–selection cycles. Recent discoveries complicate, supplement, and sometimes transform into an opposite fixed concepts. As a result, a new “image” of carcinogenesis is formed as a biological phenomenon whose conservation is indicative of its evolutionary utility.
KEY WORDS: carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, epigenetics, transformation, differentiation

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297909040014