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Modeling the Role of Neutral and Selective Mutations in Cancer

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4 Author(s)

The transformation of normal cells into cancerous cells is an evolutionary process. Populations of precancerous cells reproduce, mutate, and compete for resources. Some of these mutations eventually lead to cancer. We calculate the probability of developing cancer under a set of simplifying assumptions and then elaborate these calculations, culminating in a simple simulation of the cell dynamics. The agent-based model allows us to examine the interactions of neutral and selective mutations, as well as mutations that raise the mutation rate for the entire cell. The simulations suggest that there must be at least two selectively neutral mutations necessary for the development of cancer and that preventive treatments will be most effective when they increase this number