Plasticity as Survival Strategy in Colon Cancer

Human colon cancer cells injected into mice form tumors (left) consisting of both MAPK-active cells (green) and NOTCH-active cells (red). Treatment with the MAPK inhibitor selumetinib results in tumors consisting of NOTCH-active cells only (center), but after treatment is stopped, the NOTCH-active cells give rise to new MAPK-active cells, restoring the tumors' original composition (right). Credit: Schmidt et al., 2018.

  • Human colon cancers contain two populations of cancer cells, one at the tumor edge in which the MAPK pathway is highly active (indicated by green staining and the white arrowhead), and one in the center of tumor in which the NOTCH pathway is activated (in