Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

From Molecular Biology to Epithelial Carcinogenesis

Version 1 : Received: 3 July 2021 / Approved: 5 July 2021 / Online: 5 July 2021 (10:39:20 CEST)

How to cite: Mendez, F. From Molecular Biology to Epithelial Carcinogenesis. Preprints 2021, 2021070090. Mendez, F. From Molecular Biology to Epithelial Carcinogenesis. Preprints 2021, 2021070090.


The theory of the origin of carcinomas suggests that neoplasias from epithelial tissues are the consequence of the reactivation of developmental programs. It proposes a model in which the epithelial cells undergo cellular transitions due to replicative senescence and inflammation towards a mesenchymal-undifferentiated phenotype with cancerous behavior. The conserved pattern of histological progression and the molecular biology of carcinomas is congruent with the view of cancer as a developmental disease. In support of the theory, the experimental literature regarding the molecular, cellular, and histopathological mechanisms associated with epithelial carcinogenesis were aligned according to the premises of the hypothesis. Thereby identified a generic process in the carcinogenesis of the breast, endometrium, prostate, colon, lung, pancreas, bladder, liver, and cervix. Then, is provided a methodology overview of modeling in systems biology derived from previous research testing the hypothesis. The results illustrate the value of the complex systems approach to recover behavior that cannot be inferred only by traditional methods. Specifically, the model suggests that the consistency in the cell types and the directionality of the observed cellular transitions during epithelial carcinogenesis arise from structural constraints in the molecular networks associated with the carcinomas. Overall, the results of the dynamical analysis agree with the premises of the hypothesis and provide an insightful perspective of the potential mechanisms underlying the cellular plasticity displayed during epithelial carcinogenesis. In an era of big data and yet few advances in the underlying causes of chronic diseases, the manuscript also aims to inspire molecular biologists to integrate existing empirical evidence with systems biology modeling in the pursuit of understanding.


Senescence; EMT; Inflammation; GRN; Attractors; Carcinomas; Cellular plasticity; Convergence


Biology and Life Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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