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The Evolutionary Theory of Sex: The Evolutionary Role of Cancer

The wider the population variation, the safer it is, because it can determine changes of environment earlier. At the same time, the selection is higher and the population has to pay high cost for its evolution. On the contrary, if the variation is narrow, the evolution is less costly, but the risk is higher. So, in every environment a certain optimum of variation exists that minimizes both the risk and the cost of evolution.

Entropy forces of environment (outbreeding, mutations, errors of translation, radiation and heat) increase variation. Natural selection narrows variation and therefore regulates its optimum. But it works too coarse. For example, the first to die from hunger will be children, the most valuable, but weakest age group.

To prevent this, more precise mechanism was developed. This mechanism is cancer. Cancer is considered as one of the mechanisms of natural selection, eliminating individuals of a population according to their biological value — sex, age and information role. Certainly, natural selection uses all illnesses, but cancer is a tool specially created for it. It precisely discharges children with birth defects, as well as mature individuals not serving the tasks of their age group.

The concept can explain many features of cancer: its antiquity, generality, and close relation with sex (Male > Female) and age (increases). It can explain why children have high frequency of cancer of relatively young connective tissue (blood and bones in particular) while adults — cancer of more ancient epithelial tissue which lines both the outside (skin) and the inside cavities. It can also explain why the same type of cancer can be caused by different reasons and, on the contrary, that one factor can cause different forms of cancer.

Cancer and age
Cancer may affect people at all ages, even fetuses, but risk for the more common varieties tends to increase with age.[1] There exists a specific regulation of the age groups having different biological value: children> reproductive age> an active old age> a passive old age.

Cancer at children
Spectrum of children cancer considerably differs from that of adults. Adults have about 90 % of epithelial tissue cancers, while children — only 0.8-2 %. The cancer of children is often combined with various developmental anomalies, therefore it is possible to consider, that it prevents anomalies of growth and development from spreading. Thus, Wilms' tumor (kidneys) happens at developmental anomalies of urinary system, lymphomas — at hereditary agammaglobulinemia, a cancer of bones at anomalies of osteogenesis, leucosis — at Down syndrome.

Reproductive age
The main mission of reproductive age is to leave offspring. Therefore the cancer of reproductive age should eliminate those who do not fulfill its purpose. Therefore, the long periods of abstention and refusal of breastfeeding should raise risk of a cancer.

According to new general concept of sex hormones the surplus of the hormones has “carcinogenic” action, while hormones of an opposite sex act as “anticarcinogens”. This view provides an explanation why testosterone (poison for spermatozoids) is present in sperm. The concentration of testosterone in man’s blood after sex drops approximately 20 times []. It can be assumed that without condoms his partner will get the hormone.

Usage of condoms prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. At the same time the risk of developing breast cancer increases tenfold. Medical statistics of 19th century confirms this. In Japan and Asian republics of Russia rate of breast cancer was 10 times less compare to US and developed European countries [].

Post reproductive age
The main mission of post reproductive age is to transfer the cultural information to the descendants. Regulation in this age group can also be carried out through a cancer, instead of other illness. It’s well known that active lifestyle prevents many diseases, including cancer. In special studies, rats infected by an experimental cancer were divided into two groups. One of them twisted the squirrel wheel and has remained alive, while the control group, without physical activity, perished.

Sexual dimorphism and cancer

The analysis made by P. M. Raevski and A. L. Sherman (1976) for the malignant tumors, has shown, that phylogenetically younger organs or systems of organs have higher values of sexual dimorphism (higher incidence of tumors in males) compare to old ones. For example, such phylogenetically young formations as lungs, larynx, tong and esophagus had the greatest sexual dimorphism values. On the contrary, negative sexual dimorphism values were characteristic for the reproductive system and thyroid glands.

Organs and tissues that are in contact with environment have higher values of sexual dimorphism. Based on phylogenetic rule of sexual dimorphism authors have predicted, that lung cancer incidents will grow, while stomach cancer will decrease, because the sexual dimorphism is increasing in the first case, and decreasing in the second.

Opposite (mirrored) types of cancer

It was noted that an overdose of estrogen treatment of a prostate cancer in men leads to its disappearance but at the same time breast cancer develops (effect of mirror symmetry of Gaussian curve). This tells us that deviation of hormonal ratio from norm can lead to cancer. Similar picture exists in breast and endometrial cancer statistics—those two forms are discordant over time (Data of National Cancer Institute for the years 1937, 1947 и 1969).

Another observation. In the US 87 million women were treated by estrogens from osteoporosis. Analysis of the results showed that the probability of such patients to develop breast cancer was 1.44 times higher than average.

Treatment of cancer

Such understanding combined with the concept of "fractional" sex leads to an important conclusion — breast and prostate cancers are not always possible to treat by hormones based on a passport sex. The fact is that sperm androgens act as a “carcinogen” for men and a preventive therapy of breast cancer for women.

If the goal of cancer hormone therapy is to bring the extreme groups in each sex to their norm (middle of the distribution) then it is necessary to administer different hormones (one side of the curve should get androgens and another — estrogens).

Figure.    Breast and prostate cancers should be treated based on “fractional” sex.
Abscissa: Frequencies of women and men voices (Hz).
Ordinate: Frequencies of phenotypes in population (
Dashed red area – transgression zone. Colored lines – zones of wrong cancer treatment.

In 2006 about 600 thousand women and 300 thousand men died from breast and prostate cancer. They were treated by the hormones of opposite sex. Some of them could have been saved by using more selective therapy based on the person’s hormonal status.

Sexual Dimorphism in Pathology                               ◄ Hormonal Sex

                Application of “Teratological rule of sexual dimorphism” to the congenital anomalies of the heart

The evolutionary role of cancer. The concept of negentropy. Geodakian V. A. (2006) Intern. Conf. “Genetika v Rossii I Mire” (Genetics in Russia and the World) Moscow June 28 – July 2 p. 45 (242) Translated from Russian.

[1] Cancer Research UK (January 2007). UK cancer incidence statistics by age

[2] Раевский П. М., Шерман А. Л. Значение пола в эпидемиологии злокачественных опухолей (системно-эволюционный
      подход). В сб.: Математическая обработка медико-бнологической информации. М., Наука, 1976, с. 170–181


Copyright 2005-2009 S. Geodakyan. All rights reserved.


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