Data_Sheet_1_Testing Multi-Task Cancer Evolution: How Do We Test Ecological Hypotheses in Cancer?.PDF
Recently several authors described a family of models, according to which different cancer types and subtypes fall within a space of selective trade-offs between archetypes that maximize the performance of different tasks: cell division, biomass and energy production, lipogenesis, immune interaction, and invasion and tissue remodeling. On this picture, inter- and intratumor heterogeneity can be explained in part as a product of these selective trade-offs in different cancers, at different stages of cancer progression. The aim of this Perspective is to critically assess this approach. I use this case study to consider more generally both the advantages of using ecological models in the context of cancer, and the challenges facing testing of such models.