Dynamics of colorectal cancer

Franziska Michor, Yoh Iwasa, Christoph Lengauer, Martin A. Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Colorectal cancer results from an accumulation of mutations in tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes. An additional defining characteristic of colorectal cancer is its genetic instability. Two main types of genetic instability have been identified. Microsatellite instability leads to an increased point mutation rate, whereas chromosomal instability refers to an enhanced rate of accumulating gross chromosomal aberrations. All colon cancer cell lines are genetically unstable. An interesting question is whether genetic instability arises early in tumorigenesis. An early emergence of genetic instability could drive most of the somatic evolution of cancer. Here, we review mathematical models of colorectal tumorigenesis and discuss the role of genetic instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-493
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Genetic instability
  • Mathematical model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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