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Will cancer always be resistant to treatment?

Will cancer always be resistant to treatment?
22nd June 2012

Over the past decade there has been some important advances in the battle against cancer, but according to researchers, no matter what breakthroughs may occur in the future, the disease will always evolve to be resistant to treatment.

A study from the Moffitt Cancer Centre claims that cancer is a product of natural selection and malignancies in distinct microhabitats will continue their process of evolution and become impenetrable to treatments thrown at it.

Thus, studying cancer through genetic changes and ignoring the adaptive landscape is futile, as resistant populations of cancer cells will evolve.

Dr Robert Gatenby, chair of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging, elaborated: "Understanding cancer as a disease starts with identifying crucial environmental forces and corresponding adaptive cellular strategies.

"Cancer is driven by environmental selection forces that interact with individual cellular adaptive strategies."

According to Cancer Research UK, there were 157,275 deaths from cancer in 2010 alone.

However, the researchers offer some hope, claiming that the same principles of natural selection that make cancer resistant can also help to manage it.

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