Frank, S. A. and Rosner, M. R. 2012. Nonheritable cellular variability accelerates the evolutionary processes of cancer. PLoS Biology 10:e1001296
Recent cancer studies emphasize that genetic and heritable epigenetic changes drive the evolutionary rate of cancer progression and drug resistance. We discuss the ways in which nonheritable aspects of cellular variability may significantly increase evolutionary rate. Nonheritable variability arises by stochastic fluctuations in cells and by physiological responses of cells to the environment. New approaches to drug design may be required to control nonheritable variability and the evolution of resistance to chemotherapy.