The high mortality rate of malignant pleural mesothelioma led to study the mechanisms for chemoresistance. The cancer stem cell (CSC) model has been proposed to explain chemoresistance. CSCs are characterized by self-renewal capacity, that is detected through tumor-initiating cell assays. As in other malignancies, many studies sought to identify surface markers to isolate CSCs from malignant mesothelioma. Other studies characterized malignant mesothelioma CSCs for the expression of specific genes involved in stemness and the expression of proteins involved in chemoresistance. However, the main methods to characterize isolated CSCs include sphere formation, invasiveness, tumor-initiating capacity and expression of specific surface markers. The better knowledge of malignant mesothelioma CSCs allowed exploring new potential targets to develop specific treatments.
Keywords: Cancer stem cells; Chemoresistance; Malignant mesothelioma.
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