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Acta Oncol. 2011 Nov;50(8):1142-50. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2011.584553. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma: recent progress and perspective.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, China.



To review the current progress in osteosarcoma stem cells, including isolation and identification, special cell surface markers, relationship between drug-resistance and metastasis, and the involving signal pathways.


A review of the literature encompassing osteosarcoma stem cells was performed.


Although the cancer stem cells hypothesis was first proposed about 50 years ago, it is only in the last 10 years that advances in stem cell biology have provided increasing experimental evidence supporting this hypothesis. It has been postulated that within a tumor, a minor subpopulation of cells, termed cancer stem cells (CSC), drive the self-renewal and differentiation that account for the initiation, proliferation, metastasis, therapeutic resistance and recurrence of cancer. The CSC hypothesis opens up a novel conceptual approach for curing tumors that selectively kills CSCs, making it possible to eradicate cancer. Currently, osteosarcoma stem cells have been isolated and identified using various methods. Given the specific stem cell features, the study of CSCs has important implications in osteosarcoma prevention, detection and treatment, especially in curing early metastasis and preventing drug resistance. Focusing on their stem-like character, CSCs can be appropriately targeted by identifying links between the cells and their microenvironment.


All of this research is in its infancy - many problems still exist. Further studies are needed to search for specific targeted therapies for osteosarcoma, in-depth study of mechanism of drug resistance, identifying the role that CSCs play in tumor metastasis, and demonstrate the imbalance of specific pathways in osteosarcoma stem cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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