Understanding and Controlling Cancer: The Hallmark Concept Revisited – Chance, Evolution and Entropy

Jenny Groten, Christoph Borner, Roland Mertelsmann

Affiliation: Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg

Keywords: Cancer, carcinogenesis, evolution, entropy, cancer hallmarks, chance

DOI: 10.17160/josha.3.7.252

The overall aim of this investigation was to identify the fundamental phenotypic traits of a cancer cell to develop an “in silico” simulation model and, vice versa redefine the identified characteristics via the established simulation model. Thus, the focus lay on visualization and interactivity of the simulation. To achieve this aim, we addressed the following objectives. In the present paper, the essential “Hallmarks of Cancer” have been identified, based on a literature review. The term “Hallmarks of Cancer” has thereby been adopted from Hanahan and Weinberg (Hanahan & Weinberg 2000; Hanahan & Weinberg 2011) and defines the most fundamental phenotypic characteristics of cancer cells, which are assumed to distinguish the latter from normal cells. Aiming to achieve our concept of phenotypic cancer hallmarks, we also critically considered literature about the history of cancer research, the hallmarks selected by Hanahan and Weinberg, the genetic hallmarks, focusing on gene expression, the principles of evolution, entropy and chance in cancer, the principles of cancer treatment and recent research strategies. As a result, the identified hallmark characteristics were evaluated and, finally, synthesized.

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