Space in cancer biology: its role and implications

Anna Fomitcheva-Khartchenko, Aditya Kashyap, Tamar Geiger*, Govind V. Kaigala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Tumor cells present complex behaviors in their interactions with other cells. This intricate behavior is driving the need to develop new tools to understand these ecosystems. The surge of spatial technologies allows evaluation of the complexity of relationships between cells present in a tumor, giving insights about tumor heterogeneity and the tumor microenvironment while providing clinically relevant metrics for tumor classification. In this review, we describe key results obtained using spatial techniques, present recent advances in methods to uncover spatially relevant biological significance, and summarize their main characteristics. We expect spatial technologies to significantly broaden our understanding of tumor biology and to generate clinically relevant tools that will ultimately impact personalized medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1032
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Cancer
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
School of Biomedical Engineering
Vancouver Prostate Center
Life Sciences Institute
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung200021_200641
University of British Columbia


    • cancer, tumor biology
    • metrics
    • prognosis
    • spatial omics methods
    • tumor microenvironment


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