Cancer and Infection

Biological stoichiometry in human cancer

In this work we apply stoichiometric theory to study of tumor dynamics based on an extension of the Growth Rate Hypothesis.  Our preliminary work compared the C:N:P stoichiometry and RNA&DNA contents in malignant and normal tissues from a number of human tumors and found that, in the cases of colon and lung cancer at least, tumor P and nucleic acid contents are 2-3 times higher in tumor tissues than in the normal organ.  We are now extending these ideas to include fundamental ideas of life history evolution (e.g. "r vs K" selection) to understand why some tumors, but not others, evolve a P-rich phenotype and to determine the conditions in which tumor growth might itself be P-limited.  We are also working with mathematicians to incorporate stoichiometric constraints into models of tumor expansion.  



past funding: NSF DMS / NIH NIGMS Program