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Lab Invest. 2010 Nov;90(11):1546-8. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2010.165.

Dueling models in head and neck tumor formation.


The two leading models that have been used to explain tumor progression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are the stochastic clonal evolution model, in which many tumor cells are individually capable of recapitulating the entire tumor mass, and the cancer stem hierarchy model, in which only rare totipotential tumor stem cells can recapitulate the tumor. In this issue, Cameron et al use cell surface marker and clonal cell analyses in combination with a xenotransplant approach to provide data that support the stochastic clonal evolution model in HNSCC. This interpretation is subject, however, to limitations inherent in the experimental approach employed. Understanding the basis of tumor progression in HNSCC as well as other cancers should be further explored because of important implications for effective treatments.

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