SMT and TOFT: Why and How They are Opposite and Incompatible Paradigms

Acta Biotheoretica 64 (3):221-239 (2016)
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Abstract

The Somatic Mutation Theory has been challenged on its fundamentals by the Tissue Organization Field Theory of Carcinogenesis. However, a recent publication has questioned whether TOFT could be a valid alternative theory of carcinogenesis to that presented by SMT. Herein we critically review arguments supporting the irreducible opposition between the two theoretical approaches by highlighting differences regarding the philosophical, methodological and experimental approaches on which they respectively rely. We conclude that SMT has not explained carcinogenesis due to severe epistemological and empirical shortcomings, while TOFT is gaining momentum. The main issue is actually to submit SMT to rigorous testing. This concern includes the imperatives to seek evidence for disproving one’s hypothesis, and to consider the whole, and not just selective evidence.

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