Unravelling cancer stem cell potential

Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Oct;13(10):727-38. doi: 10.1038/nrc3597.


The maintenance and repair of many adult tissues are ensured by stem cells (SCs), which reside at the top of the cellular hierarchy of these tissues. Functional assays, such as in vitro clonogenic assays, transplantation and in vivo lineage tracing, have been used to assess the renewing and differentiation potential of normal SCs. Similar strategies have suggested that solid tumours may also be hierarchically organized and contain cancer SCs (CSCs) that sustain tumour growth and relapse after therapy. In this Opinion article, we discuss the different parallels that can be drawn between adult SCs and CSCs in solid tumours.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / cytology
  • Adult Stem Cells / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Separation
  • Clone Cells / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / radiation effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / transplantation
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway