Article Review: Evolutionary Foundations for Cancer Biology

LeonardRev. Dr. Leonard M. Hummel
Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care
Gettysburg Seminary
Gettysburg, PA 17325

GayleWoloschakGayle E. Woloschak,
Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago IL;
Zygon Center for Religion and Science,
Lutheran School of Theology Chicago, IL;


Aktipis A, Nesse R. Evolutionary foundations for cancer biology. Evolutionary Applications, 6 (1): 144-159, 2013


This article appears as the concluding “Perspective” in a special issue of Evolutionary Applications devoted Evolution and Cancer  The authors include a major researcher at Center for Evolution and Cancer, University of California, San Francisco (Aktipis) and a leader in the field of evolutionary medicine (Nesse).  They employ their wisdom to make clear their subject matter—for example, “Evolution explains why cancer exists at all, how neoplasms grow, why cancer is remarkably rare, and why it occurs despite powerful cancer suppression mechanisms” (144).  The authors employ clear graphs, a sensible organization of subjects, and a helpful bulletin of major findings to cover major dimensions of cancer and evolution.   Also, they are to be commended for their remarkably clear exposition of the “mismatch” of between our ancestral origins of our bodies with many conditions in our modern environment.  In sum, the reader of their article will agree with their conclusion, “Evolution is essential for understanding cancer” (155).


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