Uniform TitleEcological therapy for cancer: Defining tumors utilizing an ecosystem paradigm suggests new opportunities for novel cancer treatments
NameAxelrod, David (author), Pienta, Kenneth J. (author), McGregor, Natalie (author), Axelrod, Robert M. (author), University of Michigan, National Institutes of Health, Cancer Center, SouthWest Oncology Group, American Cancer Society, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Ralph Wilson Medical Research Foundation, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation,
DescriptionWe propose that there is an opportunity to devise new cancer therapies based on the recognition that tumors have
properties of ecological systems. Traditionally, localized treatment has targeted the cancer cells directly by removing
them (surgery) or killing them (chemotherapy and radiation). These modes of therapy have not always been effective
because many tumors recur after these therapies, either because not all of the cells are killed (local recurrence) or
because the cancer cells had already escaped the primary tumor environment (distant recurrence). There has
been an increasing recognition that the tumor microenvironment contains host noncancer cells in addition to cancer
cells, interacting in a dynamic fashion over time. The cancer cells compete and/or cooperate with nontumor cells,
and the cancer cells may compete and/or cooperate with each other. It has been demonstrated that these interactions
can alter the genotype and phenotype of the host cells as well as the cancer cells. The interaction of these
cancer and host cells to remodel the normal host organ microenvironment may best be conceptualized as an evolving
ecosystem. In classic terms, an ecosystem describes the physical and biological components of an environment
in relation to each other as a unit. Here, we review some properties of tumor microenvironments and ecological
systems and indicate similarities between them. We propose that describing tumors as ecological systems defines
new opportunities for novel cancer therapies and use the development of prostate cancer metastases as an example.
We refer to this as “ecological therapy” for cancer.
NotePublished version of this article is available at http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/tocrender.fcgi?iid=173555
NotePienta, Kenneth J., Natalie McGregor, Robert Axelrod, and David E. Axelrod. "Ecological therapy for cancer: Defining tumors utilizing an ecosystem paradigm suggests new opportunities for novel cancer treatments." Translational Oncology 1.4 (2008):158-164.
NoteNational Institutes of Health grant CA113004 to D.E. Axelrod
NoteNational Institutes of Health grant CA093900 to K.J. Pienta
NoteNational Institutes of Health Specialized program of Research Excellence grant P50 CA69568 to K.J. Pienta
NoteCancer Center grant P30 CA 46592 to K.J. Pienta
NoteSouthWest Oncology Group grant CA32102 to K.J. Pienta
NoteAmerican Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship to K.J. Pienta
NoteProstate Cancer Foundation support to K.J. Pienta
NoteRalph Wilson Medical Research Foundation support to K.J. Pienta
NoteWallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Partners support to K.J. Pienta
NoteUniversity of Michigan LS&A Enrichment Fund support to R. Axelrod
CollectionAxelrod David Collection
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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