1. Department of Geriatric Gastroenterology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, P.R. China;
2. Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, Austin, MN 55912, USA;
3. Beijing Baofa Cancer Hospital, Shahe Wangzhuang Gong Ye Yuan, Chang Pin Qu, Beijing 102206, P.R. China;
4. Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology, Cancer Institute, Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Beijing 100021, P.R. China;
5. D. Joshua Liao, Clinical Research Center, Guizhou Medical University Hospital, Guizhou, Guiyang 550004, P.R. China.
Some cancers can be cured by chemotherapy or radiotherapy, presumably because they are derived from those cell types that not only can die easily but also have already been equipped with mobility and adaptability, which would later allow the cancers to metastasize without the acquisition of additional mutations. From a viewpoint of biological dispersal, invasive and metastatic cells may, among other possibilities, have been initial losers in the competition for resources with other cancer cells in the same primary tumor and thus have had to look for new habitats in order to survive. If this is really the case, manipulation of their ecosystems, such as by slightly ameliorating their hardship, may prevent metastasis. Since new mutations may occur, especially during and after therapy, to drive progression of cancer cells to metastasis and therapy-resistance, preventing new mutations from occurring should be a key principle for the development of new anticancer drugs. Such new drugs should be able to kill cancer cells very quickly without leaving the surviving cells enough time to develop new mutations and select resistant or metastatic clones. This principle questions the traditional use and the future development of genotoxic drugs for cancer therapy.
Keywords: invasive and metastatic cells