Evolution of acquired resistance to anti-cancer therapy

Jasmine Foo, Franziska Michor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


Acquired drug resistance is a major limitation for the successful treatment of cancer. Resistance can emerge due to a variety of reasons including host environmental factors as well as genetic or epigenetic alterations in the cancer cells. Evolutionary theory has contributed to the understanding of the dynamics of resistance mutations in a cancer cell population, the risk of resistance pre-existing before the initiation of therapy, the composition of drug cocktails necessary to prevent the emergence of resistance, and optimum drug administration schedules for patient populations at risk of evolving acquired resistance. Here we review recent advances towards elucidating the evolutionary dynamics of acquired drug resistance and outline how evolutionary thinking can contribute to outstanding questions in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
StatePublished - Aug 21 2014


  • Cancer
  • Drug resistance
  • Evolution
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Optimal dosing strategies


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