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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2010 Nov;76(2):79-98. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Feb 25.

Neoplastic stem cells: current concepts and clinical perspectives.

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Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Neoplastic stem cells have initially been characterized in myeloid leukemias where NOD/SCID mouse-repopulating progenitors supposedly reside within a CD34+/Lin- subset of the malignant clone. These progenitors are considered to be self-renewing cells responsible for the in vivo long-term growth of neoplastic cells in leukemic patients. Therefore, these cells represent an attractive target of therapy. In some lymphoid leukemias, NOD/SCID mouse-repopulating cells were also reported to reside within the CD34+/Lin- subfraction of the clone. More recently, several attempts have been made to transfer the cancer stem cell concept to solid tumors and other non-hematopoietic neoplasms. In several of these tumors, the cell surface antigens AC133 (CD133) and CD44 are considered to indicate the potential of a cell to initiate permanent tumor formation in vivo. However, several questions concerning the phenotype, self-renewal capacity, stroma-dependence, and other properties of cancer- or leukemia-initiating cells remain to be solved. The current article provides a summary of our current knowledge on neoplastic (cancer) stem cells, with special emphasis on clinical implications and therapeutic options as well as a discussion about conceptual and technical limitations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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