Intratumor Heterogeneity: Seeing the Wood for the Trees

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Abstract

Most advanced solid tumors remain incurable, with resistance to chemotherapeutics and targeted therapies a common cause of poor clinical outcome. Intratumor heterogeneity may contribute to this failure by initiating phenotypic diversity enabling drug resistance to emerge and by introducing tumor sampling bias. Envisaging tumor growth as a Darwinian tree with the trunk representing ubiquitous mutations and the branches representing heterogeneous mutations may help in drug discovery and the development of predictive biomarkers of drug response.

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