How can we stop cancer progression? Current strategies depend on modelling progression as the balanced outcome of mutations in, and expression of, tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes. New treatments emerge from successful attempts to tip that balance, but secondary mutational escape from those treatments has become a major impediment because it leads to resistance. In this Opinion article, we argue for a return to an earlier stratagem: tumour cell reversion. Treatments based on selection and analysis of stable revertants could create more durable remissions by reducing the selective pressure that leads to rapid drug resistance.
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