During recent years, it is becoming more and more evident that there is a tight connection between abnormal differentiation processes and cancer. While cancer and stem cells are very different, especially in terms of maintaining genomic integrity, these cell types also share many similar properties. In this review, we aim to provide an over-view of the roles of the key tumor suppressor, p53, in regulating normal differentiation and function of both stem cells and adult cells. When these functions are disrupted, undifferentiated cells may become transformed. Understanding the function of p53 in stem cells and its role in maintaining the balance between differentiation and malignant transformation can help shed light on cancer initiation and propagation, and hopefully also on cancer prevention and therapy.
Keywords: Cancer stem cells; Differentiation; Stem cells; p53.
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