Dynamics of preventive versus post-diagnostic cancer control using low-impact measures

  1. Andrei R Akhmetzhanov
  2. Michael E Hochberg  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Montpellier II, France


Cancer poses danger because of its unregulated growth, development of resistant subclones, and metastatic spread to vital organs. We currently lack quantitative theory for how preventive measures and post-diagnostic interventions are predicted to affect risks of a life threatening cancer. We evaluate how continuous measures such as life style changes and traditional treatments affect both neoplastic growth and the frequency of resistant clones. We then compare and contrast preventive and post-diagnostic interventions assuming that only a single lesion progresses to invasive carcinoma during the life of an individual, and resection either leaves residual cells, or metastases are undetected. Whereas prevention generally results in more positive therapeutic outcomes than post-diagnostic interventions, this advantage is substantially lowered should prevention initially fail to arrest tumour growth. We discuss these results and other important mitigating factors that need to be taken into consideration in a comparative understanding of preventive and post-diagnostic interventions.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Andrei R Akhmetzhanov

    Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, University of Montpellier II, Montpellier, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Michael E Hochberg

    Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, University of Montpellier II, Montpellier, France
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Carl T Bergstrom, University of Washington, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: December 27, 2014
  2. Accepted: June 24, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: June 25, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: August 5, 2015 (version 2)


© 2015, Akhmetzhanov & Hochberg

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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  1. Andrei R Akhmetzhanov
  2. Michael E Hochberg
Dynamics of preventive versus post-diagnostic cancer control using low-impact measures
eLife 4:e06266.

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