Who we are

The Center for Cancer Evolution (CCE) was founded in 2016 by Drs. Michor, Pellman, and Polyak at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The CCE focuses on understanding cancer evolution through a multi-disciplinary approach. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms behind tumor evolution, metastasis formation, emergence of drug resistance to ultimately provide more specialized and effective patient care in a variety of different cancer types.


Spatial intra-tumor heterogeneity is associated with survival of lung adenocarcinoma patients. Cell Genomics, 2022.

Intra-tumor heterogeneity (ITH) of human tumors is important for tumor progression, treatment response, and drug resistance. However, the spatial distribution of ITH remains incompletely understood. Here, we present spatial analysis of ITH in lung adenocarcinomas from 147 patients using multi-region mass spectrometry of >5,000 regions, single-cell copy number sequencing of ∼2,000 single cells, and cyclic immunofluorescence of >10 million cells. We identified two distinct spatial patterns among tumors, termed clustered and random geographic diversification (GD). These patterns were observed in the same samples using both proteomic and genomic data. The random proteomic GD pattern, which is characterized by decreased cell adhesion and lower levels of tumor-interacting endothelial cells, was significantly associated with increased risk of recurrence or death in two independent patient cohorts. Our study presents comprehensive spatial mapping of ITH in lung adenocarcinoma and provides insights into the mechanisms and clinical consequences of GD.

Press release.