Phenotypic noise and plasticity in cancer evolution.
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Non-genetic alterations can produce changes in a cell's phenotype. In cancer, these phenomena can influence a cell's fitness by conferring access to heritable, beneficial phenotypes. Herein, we argue that current discussions of 'phenotypic plasticity' in cancer evolution ignore a salient feature of the original definition: namely, that it occurs in response to an environmental change. We suggest 'phenotypic noise' be used to distinguish non-genetic changes in phenotype that occur independently from the environment. We discuss the conceptual and methodological techniques used to identify these phenomena during cancer evolution. We propose that the distinction will guide efforts to define mechanisms of phenotype change, accelerate translational work to manipulate phenotypes through treatment, and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.
Genomics & evolut dynam
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Trends in Cell Biology, 2023, pp. S0962-8924(23)00206-4 -