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Revista Cubana de Medicina Militar

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


PEREZ CALA, Armando Ernesto; BENITEZ SANCHEZ, Edgar  y  DOMINICA ESTERIS, Yelina de la Caridad. Theoretical considerations on the ecological-evolutionary perspective of cancer. Rev Cub Med Mil [online]. 2019, vol.48, n.1, e162.  Epub 01-Mar-2019. ISSN 0138-6557.

Cancer is a serious health problem worldwide. The introduction of an ecological and evolutionary perspective of malignant neoplasms is aimed at a more systemic and objective approach to the nature of this heterogeneous group of diseases. This paper will review current thinking in the ecological-evolutionary perspective of cancer. Cancer is a universal phenomenon that affects all forms of multicellular organisms. The risk of developing malignant tumors closely associates to the patterns of life histories traced by the evolutionary process according to the adaptive need of organisms to the different ecological niches they occupy. There is an association between the evolutionary development of protective mechanisms against malignant tumors and their evolutionary cost in terms of reproductive success. The later seems to depend on body size, distribution of energy towards basic processes and basal risk of cancer. Natural selection favors effective mechanisms that protect against cancer if they allow optimization of other traits that determine adaptive success. These ecological and evolutionary principles allow concluding that they should serve to better characterize the factors depending on both biological and environmental factors that influence the risk of carcinogenesis. More than 90% of the increase in cancer basal risk, even in natural species, is due to human activity, and therefore, modification is possible.

Palabras clave : evolutionary carcinogenesis; Peto´s paradox; life history theory; cancer ecology.

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