Single-cell genotyping demonstrates complex clonal diversity in acute myeloid leukemia

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Science Translational Medicine  01 Apr 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 281, pp. 281re2
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa0763

Cancer evolution: No simple answers

Traditionally, the evolution of cancer has been explained in simple terms: A cell acquires mutations and becomes malignant and then gives rise to progeny that become more malignant as they acquire additional mutations. A key assumption of this model is that the entire cancer is derived from descendants of a single original cell. However, a new study by Paguirigan et al. challenges this paradigm by providing evidence of convergent evolution in acute myeloid leukemia. The authors analyzed individual cells from multiple patients with leukemia and demonstrated that the mutation patterns seen in each patient could not have arisen from a single ancestral cell, suggesting a need for more sophisticated models of cancer evolution to inform the development of new treatment strategies.

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