Capturing cancer evolution using genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs)


Initiating from a single cell, cancer undergoes clonal evolution, leading to a high degree of intratumor heterogeneity (ITH). The arising genetic heterogeneity between cancer cells is influenced by exogenous and endogenous forces that shape the composition of clones within tumors. Preclinical mouse models have provided a valuable tool for understanding cancer, helping to build a fundamental understanding of tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis. Until recently, genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMS) of cancer had lacked the genetic diversity found in human tumors, in which evolution may be driven by long-term carcinogen exposure and DNA damage. However, advances in sequencing technology and in our understanding of the drivers of genetic instability have given us the knowledge to generate new mouse models, offering an approach to functionally explore mechanisms of tumor evolution.

Journal details

Volume 31
Issue number 12
Pages 1007-1018
Available online
Publication date