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The selection of advantageous mutations underlies tumorigenesis. The growth of a tumor is therefore a form of evolution at the somatic level, in which the population is comprised of individual cells within the tumor. Models of tumorigenesis have considered the relative importance of mutation and selection. We show that selection is more important than an increased mutation rate in the growth of a tumor. Some cancers may acquire a "mutator phenotype," probably leading to faster growth, but mutator phenotypes are not necessary for carcinogenesis.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





14800 - 14803


Biological Evolution, Humans, Mutation, Neoplasms