The Hallmarks of Cancer in a Nutshell

The “Hallmarks of Cancer” were described for the first time in 2008 (and updated in 2011), as the subject of a landmark paper written by research scientists Douglas Hanahan and Robert A. Weinberg and published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell.

The 2008 “Hallmarks of Cancer” paper defined six rules of interlocking processes that fed and nourished each other and together resulted in cancer:

  1. Sustaining proliferative signaling (uncontrolled cell growth),
  2. Evading growth suppressors,
  3. Resisting cell death,
  4. Enabling replicative immortality,
  5. Inducing angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels), and
  6. Activating invasion and metastasis (cancerous cells invade nearby tissues and spread to distant parts of the body).”


In the 2011 update four additional significant factors were added:

Two “emerging hallmarks: “

  1. Reprogramming Cellular Metabolism
  2. Evading Destruction By The Immune System

And two “enabling characteristics: “

  1. Genome instability/mutation
  2. Tumor promoting inflammation.


Hanahan, Douglas, and Robert A. Weinberg. “Hallmarks of cancer: the next generation.” cell 144.5 (2011): 646-674.

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