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Research in the field of cancer immunity, which is of increasing credence, suggests that cancer is a disorder that manifests with characteristics also present in reproductive physiology—effectively a somatic cell pregnancy.1 This paradigm complements the conventional somatic mutation theory, proposing tumorigenesis to be initiated by mutations in a growth control gene, followed by alteration of further genes with resultant malignant clonal development.2
The former paradigm is supported by the expression of oncofetal, cancer-embryonic and cancer testis antigens in cancer, such as α-fetoprotein, carcinoembryonic antigen and NY-ESO-1. Moreover, characteristics of cancer are shared by gametogenesis and placentation; namely, invasion, angiogenesis, immune evasion and resistance to apoptosis.
With regard to gastrointestinal neoplasia and the former paradigm, it is of interest to assess expression for CDX2; this is a transcription factor belonging to the caudal-related homeobox gene family. It …
Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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