Symmetry and symmetry breaking in cancer: A foundational approach to the cancer problem

J. James Frost, Kenneth J. Pienta, Donald S. Coffey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Symmetry and symmetry breaking concepts from physics and biology are applied to the problem of cancer. Three categories of symmetry breaking in cancer are examined: combinatorial, geometric, and functional. Within these categories, symmetry breaking is examined for relevant cancer features, including epithelialmesenchymal transition (EMT); tumor heterogeneity; tensegrity; fractal geometric and information structure; functional interaction networks; and network stabilizability and attack tolerance. The new cancer symmetry concepts are relevant to homeostasis loss in cancer and to its origin, spread, treatment and resistance. Symmetry and symmetry breaking could provide a new way of thinking and a pathway to a solution of the cancer problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11429-11440
Number of pages12
JournalOncotarget
Volume9
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 20 2018

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Complexity
  • Scale-free
  • Symmetry
  • Symmetry-breaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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