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      Stem cell fate in cancer growth, progression and therapy resistance

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      Nature Reviews Cancer

      Springer Nature America, Inc

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          The epithelial-mesenchymal transition generates cells with properties of stem cells.

          The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key developmental program that is often activated during cancer invasion and metastasis. We here report that the induction of an EMT in immortalized human mammary epithelial cells (HMLEs) results in the acquisition of mesenchymal traits and in the expression of stem-cell markers. Furthermore, we show that those cells have an increased ability to form mammospheres, a property associated with mammary epithelial stem cells. Independent of this, stem cell-like cells isolated from HMLE cultures form mammospheres and express markers similar to those of HMLEs that have undergone an EMT. Moreover, stem-like cells isolated either from mouse or human mammary glands or mammary carcinomas express EMT markers. Finally, transformed human mammary epithelial cells that have undergone an EMT form mammospheres, soft agar colonies, and tumors more efficiently. These findings illustrate a direct link between the EMT and the gain of epithelial stem cell properties.
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            Prospective identification of tumorigenic breast cancer cells.

            Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in United States women, accounting for >40,000 deaths each year. These breast tumors are comprised of phenotypically diverse populations of breast cancer cells. Using a model in which human breast cancer cells were grown in immunocompromised mice, we found that only a minority of breast cancer cells had the ability to form new tumors. We were able to distinguish the tumorigenic (tumor initiating) from the nontumorigenic cancer cells based on cell surface marker expression. We prospectively identified and isolated the tumorigenic cells as CD44(+)CD24(-/low)Lineage(-) in eight of nine patients. As few as 100 cells with this phenotype were able to form tumors in mice, whereas tens of thousands of cells with alternate phenotypes failed to form tumors. The tumorigenic subpopulation could be serially passaged: each time cells within this population generated new tumors containing additional CD44(+)CD24(-/low)Lineage(-) tumorigenic cells as well as the phenotypically diverse mixed populations of nontumorigenic cells present in the initial tumor. The ability to prospectively identify tumorigenic cancer cells will facilitate the elucidation of pathways that regulate their growth and survival. Furthermore, because these cells drive tumor development, strategies designed to target this population may lead to more effective therapies.
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              Stem cells, cancer, and cancer stem cells.

              Stem cell biology has come of age. Unequivocal proof that stem cells exist in the haematopoietic system has given way to the prospective isolation of several tissue-specific stem and progenitor cells, the initial delineation of their properties and expressed genetic programmes, and the beginnings of their utility in regenerative medicine. Perhaps the most important and useful property of stem cells is that of self-renewal. Through this property, striking parallels can be found between stem cells and cancer cells: tumours may often originate from the transformation of normal stem cells, similar signalling pathways may regulate self-renewal in stem cells and cancer cells, and cancer cells may include 'cancer stem cells' - rare cells with indefinite potential for self-renewal that drive tumorigenesis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Cancer
                Nat Rev Cancer
                Springer Nature America, Inc
                1474-175X
                1474-1768
                September 18 2018
                10.1038/s41568-018-0056-x
                © 2018

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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