Competitive cell interactions in cancer: a cellular tug of war

Laura Wagstaff, Golnar Kolahgar, Eugenia Piddini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Within tissues, cells sense differences in fitness levels and this can lead to fitter cells eliminating less fit, albeit viable, cells via competitive cell interactions. The involvement of several cancer-related genes in this phenomenon has drawn attention to a potential connection between competitive cell interactions and cancer. Indeed, initial studies found that tumor-promoting genes can turn cells into 'supercompetitors', able to kill normal cells around them. However, more recently it has been observed that cells harboring certain cancer-promoting mutations can be eliminated by surrounding normal cells, suggesting that competitive cell interactions could also have a tumor-suppressive role. These findings suggest a new view whereby tumor and host cells engage in a bidirectional tug of war, the outcome of which may have a profound impact on disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-7
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Cell Communication
  • Disease Progression
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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