The Heterocellular Emergence of Colorectal Cancer.
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Tissues contain multiple different cell types and can be considered to be heterocellular systems. Signaling between different cells allows tissues to achieve phenotypes that no cell type can achieve in isolation. Such emergent tissue-level phenotypes can be said to 'supervene upon' heterocellular signaling. It is proposed here that cancer is also an emergent phenotype that supervenes upon heterocellular signaling. Using colorectal cancer (CRC) as an example, I review how heterotypic cells differentially communicate to support emergent malignancy. Studying tumors as integrated heterocellular systems - rather than as solitary expansions of mutated cells - may reveal novel ways to treat cancer.
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Trends Cancer, 3 (2), pp. 79 - 88