Differences found in cancer cells in terms of their shape and structure (morphology), their gene expression, their metabolism, and their capacity to move, proliferate, and metastasize. Types:
- Interpatient: variation between patients with cancers at the same site of origin
- Intrapatient: variation within tumours in the same person
- Intratumour: variation within a single tumour
The diversity or heterogenous nature of tumours is the key reason why identifying effective cancer treatments is so challenging and it is the impetus behind a precision medicine approach.