Cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma

Cancer Lett. 2017 Feb 1:386:189-195. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2016.11.019. Epub 2016 Nov 25.


Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumour in children and adolescents and advanced osteosarcoma patients with evidence of metastasis share a poor prognosis. Osteosarcoma frequently gains resistance to standard therapies highlighting the need for improved treatment regimens and identification of novel therapeutic targets. Cancer stem cells (CSC) represent a sub-type of tumour cells attributed to critical steps in cancer including tumour propagation, therapy resistance, recurrence and in some cases metastasis. Recent published work demonstrates evidence of cancer stem cell phenotypes in osteosarcoma with links to drug resistance and tumorigenesis. In this review we will discuss the commonly used isolation techniques for cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma as well as the identified biochemical and molecular markers.

Keywords: Bone cancer; Cancer stem cell; Osteosarcoma; Tumour heterogeneity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics
  • Bone Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Separation / methods
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Osteosarcoma / drug therapy
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics
  • Osteosarcoma / metabolism
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology*
  • Phenotype


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor