Cancer: Tilting at windmills?

Prakash Kulkarni, Takumi Shiraishi, Rahul V. Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


One of the striking characteristics of cancer cells is their phenotypic diversity and ability to switch phenotypes in response to environmental fluctuations. Such phenotypic changes (e.g. from drug-sensitive to drug-resistant), which are critical for survival and proliferation, are widely believed to arise due to mutations in the cancer cell's genome. However, there is growing concern that such a deterministic view is not entirely consistent with multiple lines of evidence which indicate that cancer can arise in the absence of mutations and can even be reversed to normalcy despite the mutations. In this Commentary, we wish to present an alternate view that highlights how stochasticity in protein interaction networks (PINs) may play a key role in cancer initiation and progression. We highlight the potential role of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and submit that targeting IDPs can lead to new insights and treatment protocols for cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108
JournalMolecular Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 24 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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