Tissue stem cells have been linked to cancers of epithelial origin including the prostate. There are three relevant issues concerning stem cells and cancer that rely solely on functional studies: 1. Are there tissue-regenerating stem cells in the adult organ? 2. Can tissue-regenerating cells serve as targets for transformation? 3. Do primary tumors contain tumor-propagating (cancer stem) cells? We will review the recent literature with respect to these critical issues to provide a direct link between primitive cells and prostate cancer.
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