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Cancer Cell. 2007 Jan;11(1):69-82.

A perivascular niche for brain tumor stem cells.

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Department of Developmental Neurobiology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 332 North Lauderdale Street, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


Cancers are believed to arise from cancer stem cells (CSCs), but it is not known if these cells remain dependent upon the niche microenvironments that regulate normal stem cells. We show that endothelial cells interact closely with self-renewing brain tumor cells and secrete factors that maintain these cells in a stem cell-like state. Increasing the number of endothelial cells or blood vessels in orthotopic brain tumor xenografts expanded the fraction of self-renewing cells and accelerated the initiation and growth of tumors. Conversely, depletion of blood vessels from xenografts ablated self-renewing cells from tumors and arrested tumor growth. We propose that brain CSCs are maintained within vascular niches that are important targets for therapeutic approaches.

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