Spatial Measures of Genetic Heterogeneity During Carcinogenesis

K. Storey, M. D. Ryser, Kevin Z Leder, Jasmine Y Foo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this work we explore the temporal dynamics of spatial heterogeneity during the process of tumorigenesis from healthy tissue. We utilize a spatial stochastic model of mutation accumulation and clonal expansion in a structured tissue to describe this process. Under a two-step tumorigenesis model, we first derive estimates of a non-spatial measure of diversity: Simpson’s Index, which is the probability that two individuals sampled at random from the population are identical, in the premalignant population. We next analyze two new measures of spatial population heterogeneity. In particular we study the typical length scale of genetic heterogeneity during the carcinogenesis process and estimate the extent of a surrounding premalignant clone given a clinical observation of a premalignant point biopsy. This evolutionary framework contributes to a growing literature focused on developing a better understanding of the spatial population dynamics of cancer initiation and progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-276
Number of pages40
JournalBulletin of mathematical biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
JF is supported by NSF grants DMS-1224362 and DMS-134972. KZL is supported by NSF grants CMMI-1362236 and CMMI-1552764. MDR is supported by National Institutes of Health R01-GM096190 and Swiss National Science Foundation P300P2_154583.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Society for Mathematical Biology.


  • Carcinogenesis
  • Genetic heterogeneity
  • Spatial evolution


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