Dr. Neil Spector, from Duke Cancer Institute, Discusses the Systemic Nature of Cancer
Neil L. Spector, MD, co-director, Experimental Therapeutics, Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, explains that specialists have a tendency to over simplify cancer, which is a very systemic disease that varies depending on the location and tumor type.
The cancer cells unique gene mutations while the area around the tumor and metastatic extensions may carry very different molecular characteristics. Spector describes it as "the seed versus the soil," where the tumor is the seed and the soil is the surrounding microenvironment.
The molecular differences observed between the tumor and microenvironment may lead to treatment resistance. These differences are further echoed by those seen in the primary tumor and metastatic sites, which are each molecularly unique. The varying molecular profile witnessed systemically can greatly affect the treatment paradigm.
Each of these molecular variations makes cancer extremely complex. Determining the systemic differences using molecular analysis will help researchers develop therapies and combinations of therapies that can have a dramatic break-through effect on the treatment of cancer.