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Revista Cubana de Medicina Militar

versión impresa ISSN 0138-6557versión On-line ISSN 1561-3046


BENITEZ SANCHEZ, Edgar; PEREZ CALA, Armando Ernesto  y  HINOJOSA RIVERA, Yamilé. Evolutionary and ecological bases of human carcinogenesis, a matter of bad luck?. Rev Cub Med Mil [online]. 2018, vol.47, n.2. ISSN 0138-6557.

ABSTRACT Cancer is a serious health problem worldwide. Estimates, in terms of incidence and mortality, are not at all promising especially for underdeveloped countries. During the last decades, important contributions have been made to the understanding of human carcinogenesis, especially from the ecological and evolutionary perspective. The objectives of this work are focused on: highlighting the main hypotheses that, from this perspective, try to explain the etiology of malignant tumors, as well as adapting those that, in the light of recent findings or collated with empirical data, seem more feasible. The traditionally accepted hypothesis is based on "multi-stage carcinogenesis"; and satisfactorily explains some aspects of the process; although it leads to logic fallacies, such as the conclusion that two thirds of human cancers obey to "bad luck". On the other hand, the hypothesis of "adaptive oncogenesis" seems to adapt more realistically to the complex ecological relationships established between malignant cells, normal cells, and the cellular microenvironment; capable of originating such "inadmissible" phenomena, such as the cooperation of normal cells in tumor progression, or the adoption by malignant cells of evolutionarily stable strategies. In fact, adaptive oncogenesis can even be extended to the level of the population and social "macroenvironment". Its final conclusion does nothing but reiterate the importance of prevention as the most effective measure to reduce the global burden of cancer disease.

Palabras clave : multistep carcinogenesis; adaptive oncogenesis; tumor ecology.

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