Breast cancer stem cell markers - the rocky road to clinical applications

Breast Cancer Res. 2008;10(5):110. doi: 10.1186/bcr2130. Epub 2008 Sep 15.


Lately, understanding the role of cancer stem cells in tumor initiation and progression became a major focus in stem cell biology and in cancer research. Considerable efforts, such as the recent studies by Honeth and colleagues, published in the June issue of Breast Cancer Research, are directed towards developing clinical applications of the cancer stem cell concepts. This work shows that the previously described CD44+CD24- stem cell phenotype is associated with basal-type breast cancers in human patients, in particular BRCA1 inherited cancers, but does not correlate with clinical outcome. These very interesting findings caution that the success of our efforts in translating cancer stem cell research into clinical practice depends on how thorough and rigorous we are at characterizing these cells.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / analysis
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1 Family
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • CD24 Antigen / analysis
  • Clone Cells / chemistry
  • Clone Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / chemistry
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / analysis
  • Isoenzymes / analysis
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / chemistry*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Prognosis
  • Retinal Dehydrogenase


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CD24 Antigen
  • CD24 protein, human
  • CD44 protein, human
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1 Family
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase
  • ALDH1A1 protein, human
  • Retinal Dehydrogenase