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Pathol Int. 2006 Sep;56(9):485-9.

Cancer stem cell hypothesis in thyroid cancer.

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Department of Pathology, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan.


There is increasing evidence that many types of cancer contain their own stem cells: cancer stem cells, which are characterized by their self-renewing capacity and differentiation ability. Cancer could be regarded as an abnormal organ initiated by cancer stem cells, and cancer stem cells might play a decisive role in tumor initiation and progression. Dysregulation of stem cell self-renewal is a likely requirement for the development of cancer, and stem cells seem more likely to be the transformed target cells in carcinogenesis. This cancer stem cell model has great implications for understanding of oncogenesis and treatment for cancer. Abundant evidence suggests that, parallel to other solid tumors, cancer stem cells also exist in thyroid cancer, although their characteristics are largely unknown to date. The present review will discuss the potential traits of cancer stem cells in thyroid cancer and their transformation targets: stem cells in the thyroid gland.

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