DOI: 10.1158/1538-7445.canevol23-ia015 ISSN: 1538-7445

Abstract IA015: Phylomedicine of cancers and tumors: A molecular phylogenetic approach to oncology

Sudhir Kumar
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Genetic mutations arising from germline and somatic cell divisions cause cellular diversification and form the need for integrating an evolutionary perspective in oncology. Such mutations can lead to the emergence of aberrant cell types, driving the progression of tumorigenic and metastatic cancer subclones. Advances in single-cell and bulk sequencing technologies now routinely reveal a trove of genetic alterations in cancer cells, tissues, and genes. These data enable the reconstruction of detailed cellular phylogenies and the evolutionary trajectories of genes implicated in cancer. This presentation will introduce our approaches for reconstructing cellular phylogenies and their downstream applications in genomic medicine. They include novel approaches for inferring cellular phylogenies by correcting for inaccuracies in single-cell genomic data and separating mixed subclone signals in bulk sequencing data through molecular evolutionary principles. Incorporating accurate phylogenetic relationships, we have developed many computational methods, including diagnosing functional outcomes of nonsynonymous mutations, tracking metastatic pathways retrospectively, and predicting the risk of hematological malignancies. This presentation will briefly introduce these approaches and suggest that integrating molecular phylogenetics with genomic science—Phylomedicine—holds promise for enhancing the fundamental understanding of cancers and advancing approaches to predicting, diagnosing, and treating cancers.

Citation Format: Sudhir Kumar. Phylomedicine of cancers and tumors: A molecular phylogenetic approach to oncology [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference in Cancer Research: Translating Cancer Evolution and Data Science: The Next Frontier; 2023 Dec 3-6; Boston, Massachusetts. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2024;84(3 Suppl_2):Abstract nr IA015.

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