Ricard Solé

Paper #: 03-04-028

The dynamics of cancer evolution are studied by means of a simple quasispecies model involving cells displaying high levels of genetic instability. Both continuous, mean-field and discrete, bit-string models are analyzed. The string model is simulated on a single-peak landscape. It is shown that a phase transition exists at high levels of genetic instability, thus separating two phases of slow and rapid growth. The results suggest that, under a conserved level of genetic instability the cancer cell population will be close to the threshold level. Implications for therapy are outlined.