Med Hypotheses. 1996 Jun;46(6):581-3.
Comment in: Med Hypotheses. 1997 Nov;49(5):447-8.
Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.
In this paper, I present a highly unorthodox and provocative hypothesis, namely that cancer is an evolutionarily derived phenomenon, dormant in every human cell and actively triggered in certain individuals. Cancer is shown to help maintain the integrity of the common gene pool through active elimination of individuals, thus serving a definite advantage for the survival of the species. Those individuals who are less capable of maintaining the integrity of their genome are stopped from inheriting defective genes, and even more important, from bequeathing defective deoxyribonucleic acid conservation traits to their offspring. Genome stability is a primary prerequisite for survival. The spread of deteriorated, imperfect genes should have a disastrous effect on a species’ chances for survival. Although we tend to focus our attention on mutations as evolution’s driving force, the stability of the deoxyribonucleic acid molecule is what really maintains life on our planet. When observing evolution’s end product, we tend to forget that the extreme stability of the genetic material is a genetic quality by itself, a product of a long evolutionary process. The hypothesis presented here is that the selection pressure imposed by cancer is one of the mechanisms leading to this stability.