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Br J Cancer. 2009 Jan 27;100(2):221-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604850. Epub 2009 Jan 6.

Normal stem cells in cancer prone epithelial tissues.

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  • 1Department of Biosciences, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.


The concept of a cancer stem cell is not a new one, being first suggested over 100 years ago. Over recent years the concept has enjoyed renewed enthusiasm, partly because of our growing understanding of the nature of somatic stem cells, but also because of a growing realisation that the development of strategies that target cancer stem cells may offer considerable advantages over conventional approaches. However, despite this renewed enthusiasm the existence of cancer stem cells remains controversial in many tumour types and any potential relationship to the normal stem cell pool remains poorly defined. This review summarises key elements of our understanding of the normal stem cell populations within animal models of the predominant cancer prone epithelial tissues, and further investigates the potential links between these populations and putative cancer stem cells.

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