'Chromosomal catastrophes' in colorectal cancer
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IMAGE: The team sampled multiple areas of each tumor to measure intra-tumor heterogeneity. view more 

Credit: Queen Mary University of London

‘Chromosomal catastrophes’ have been found to occur along the evolutionary timeline of colorectal cancer development, according to new research led by Queen Mary University of London.

The findings are published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Lead author Dr William Cross from Queen Mary University of London said: “Our results change the way in which we understand how bowel cancers develop. Although the classical model of colorectal cancer development appears correct in some cases, our results suggest that we need to rethink certain aspects of it.”

Prof Trevor Graham from Queen Mary University of London said: “Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. Our study gives more insight into how bowel cancer develops, and provides a foundation that we can build upon to develop tools to predict who is at risk of developing the disease.”

As tumours grow, different cells acquire various genetic changes that allow them to adapt to their environment. The cells that acquire changes that confer the best chance of survival and growth within the environment are favoured, and so increase

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