Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 35, Issue 5–6, pp 361–367 | Cite as

Cancer initiation and progression within the cancer microenvironment

  • Stanley P. LeongEmail author
  • Athena Aktipis
  • Carlo Maley


Within the cancer microenvironment, the growth and proliferation of cancer cells in the primary site as well as in the metastatic site represent a global biological phenomenon. To understand the growth, proliferation and progression of cancer either by local expansion and/or metastasis, it is important to understand the cancer microenvironment and host response to cancer growth. Melanoma is an excellent model to study the interaction of cancer initiation and growth in relationship to its microenvironment. Social evolution with cooperative cellular groups within an organism is what gives rise to multicellularity in the first place. Cancer cells evolve to exploit their cellular environment. The foundations of multicellular cooperation break down in cancer because those cells that misbehave have an evolutionary advantage over their normally behaving neighbors. It is important to classify evolutionary and ecological aspects of cancer growth, thus, data for cancer growth and outcomes need to be collected to define these parameters so that accurate predictions of how cancer cells may proliferate and metastasize can be developed.


Cancer microenvironment Cancer evolution Natural selection Cancer ecology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley P. Leong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Athena Aktipis
    • 2
  • Carlo Maley
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Surgery and Melanoma CenterCalifornia Pacific Medical Center and Research InstituteSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center, Biodesign InstituteArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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