Transmissible Cancers in an Evolutionary Perspective

Authors: Antoine M. Dujon, Robert A. Gatenby, Georgina Bramwell, Nick MacDonald, Erin Dohrmann, Nynke Raven, Aaron Schultz, Rodrigo Hamede, Anne-Lise Gérard, Mathieu Giraudeau, Frédéric Thomas & Beata Ujvari

Source: iScience (June 2020)

Brief summary of the paper:

Graphical Abstract:

Inter-individual transmission of cancer cells represents an intriguing and unexplored host-pathogen system, with significant ecological and evolutionary ramifications. The pathogen consists of clonal malignant cell lines that spread horizontally as allografts and/or xenografts.

Although only nine transmissible cancer lineages in eight host species from both terrestrial and marine environments have been investigated, they exhibit evolutionary dynamics that may provide novel insights into tumor-host interactions particularly in the formation of metastases.

Here we present an overview of known transmissible cancers, discuss the necessary and sufficient conditions for cancer transmission, and provide a comprehensive review on the evolutionary dynamics between transmissible cancers and their hosts.