Yuri Lazebnik, PhD
Professor and Cancer Cell Biologist
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Long Island, NY
Yuri Lazebnik, PhD, is a professor and cancer cell biologist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Long Island, New York. His research focuses on how cells become cancerous, how cancer cells evolve, and how they can be killed selectively. The main “Pathways” article in this month’s OncologyLive
touches on the differing opinions on the hallmarks of cancer. In this Q&A, Lazebnik provides another view of the role of the hallmarks in our present and future understanding of cancer.
Pathology textbooks still suggest that the hallmarks of cancer are the ability of the tumors to invade and metastasize. Indeed, without these features, solid cancers would behave as benign tumors, which are usually harmless because they are self-contained and thus can be excised completely, even if these tumors grow fast and big, avoid apoptosis, and are self-sufficient for growth factors. The high incidence of cancer mortality might be explained by the fact that the ability to metastasize is still one of the most poorly understood features of cancer. So, I find the textbook definition both convincing and instructive.