Cell competition and tumor heterogeneity

Taylor M. Parker, Vanessa Henriques, Antonio Beltran, Harikrishna Nakshatri, Rajan Gogna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations


Cancers exhibit a remarkable degree of intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH), which results from complex cellular interactions amongst various cell types. This phenomenon provides an opportunity for clonal selection and growth advantages to aggressive cancer cell types, resulting in worse prognosis and challenges to anti-cancer therapy. Cell competition is a conserved mechanism operational in cellular and organ systems, which allows neighboring cells to compare their relative fitness levels and results in the elimination of viable but suboptimal cells. By abuse of this conserved homeostasis mechanism, aggressive cancer cell types gain an advantage over normal cell types by achieving traits like increased proliferation, de-differentiation, and stemness. This review presents recent evidence that cell competition mechanisms actively participate in the regulation of intratumoral cell-cell interactions and thus contribute to ITH, and this process is essential for cancer development and progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Cancer
  • Cell competition
  • Epithelial mesenchymal transition
  • Myc
  • Oncogenic pathways
  • Tumour heterogeneity
  • Tumour microenvironment
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cell competition and tumor heterogeneity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this