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      Stem cells, cancer, and cancer stem cells.

      Nature

      Cell Division, Cell Transformation, Neoplastic, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Humans, Leukemia, pathology, Stem Cells, Mutation, Neoplasms, Regeneration, Signal Transduction, Animals

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          Abstract

          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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          Most cited references 61

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          Molecular portraits of human breast tumours.

          Human breast tumours are diverse in their natural history and in their responsiveness to treatments. Variation in transcriptional programs accounts for much of the biological diversity of human cells and tumours. In each cell, signal transduction and regulatory systems transduce information from the cell's identity to its environmental status, thereby controlling the level of expression of every gene in the genome. Here we have characterized variation in gene expression patterns in a set of 65 surgical specimens of human breast tumours from 42 different individuals, using complementary DNA microarrays representing 8,102 human genes. These patterns provided a distinctive molecular portrait of each tumour. Twenty of the tumours were sampled twice, before and after a 16-week course of doxorubicin chemotherapy, and two tumours were paired with a lymph node metastasis from the same patient. Gene expression patterns in two tumour samples from the same individual were almost always more similar to each other than either was to any other sample. Sets of co-expressed genes were identified for which variation in messenger RNA levels could be related to specific features of physiological variation. The tumours could be classified into subtypes distinguished by pervasive differences in their gene expression patterns.
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            Distinct types of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma identified by gene expression profiling.

            Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is clinically heterogeneous: 40% of patients respond well to current therapy and have prolonged survival, whereas the remainder succumb to the disease. We proposed that this variability in natural history reflects unrecognized molecular heterogeneity in the tumours. Using DNA microarrays, we have conducted a systematic characterization of gene expression in B-cell malignancies. Here we show that there is diversity in gene expression among the tumours of DLBCL patients, apparently reflecting the variation in tumour proliferation rate, host response and differentiation state of the tumour. We identified two molecularly distinct forms of DLBCL which had gene expression patterns indicative of different stages of B-cell differentiation. One type expressed genes characteristic of germinal centre B cells ('germinal centre B-like DLBCL'); the second type expressed genes normally induced during in vitro activation of peripheral blood B cells ('activated B-like DLBCL'). Patients with germinal centre B-like DLBCL had a significantly better overall survival than those with activated B-like DLBCL. The molecular classification of tumours on the basis of gene expression can thus identify previously undetected and clinically significant subtypes of cancer.
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              Human acute myeloid leukemia is organized as a hierarchy that originates from a primitive hematopoietic cell

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                11689955
                10.1038/35102167

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