Prostate cancer (PCa) progression is a complex eco-evolutionary process driven by the feedback between evolving tumour cell phenotypes and microenvironmentally driven selection. To better understand this relationship, we used a multiscale mathematical model that integrates data from biology and pathology on the microenvironmental regulation of PCa cell behaviour. Our data indicate that the interactions between tumour cells and their environment shape the evolutionary dynamics of PCa cells and explain overall tumour aggressiveness. A key environmental determinant of this aggressiveness is the stromal ecology, which can be either inhibitory, highly reactive (supportive) or non-reactive (neutral). Our results show that stromal ecology correlates directly with tumour growth but inversely modulates tumour evolution. This suggests that aggressive, environmentally independent PCa may be a result of poor stromal ecology, supporting the concept that purely tumour epithelium-centric metrics of aggressiveness may be incomplete and that incorporating markers of stromal ecology would improve prognosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics