Cancer Stem Cells in Solid Tumours: Accumulating Evidence and Unresolved Questions

Nat Rev Cancer. 2008 Oct;8(10):755-68. doi: 10.1038/nrc2499. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Abstract

Solid tumours are an enormous cancer burden and a major therapeutic challenge. The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis provides an attractive cellular mechanism to account for the therapeutic refractoriness and dormant behaviour exhibited by many of these tumours. There is increasing evidence that diverse solid tumours are hierarchically organized and sustained by a distinct subpopulation of CSCs. Direct evidence for the CSC hypothesis has recently emerged from mouse models of epithelial tumorigenesis, although alternative models of heterogeneity also seem to apply. The clinical relevance of CSCs remains a fundamental issue but preliminary findings indicate that specific targeting may be possible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / physiopathology
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells* / drug effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells* / pathology

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor