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Nat Rev Cancer. 2012 Jan 12;12(2):133-43. doi: 10.1038/nrc3184.

Cancer stem cells: an evolving concept.

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Terry Fox Laboratory, British Columbia Cancer Agency and the University of British Columbia, 675 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 1L3, Canada.


The cancer stem cell (CSC) concept derives from the fact that cancers are dysregulated tissue clones whose continued propagation is vested in a biologically distinct subset of cells that are typically rare. This idea is not new, but has recently gained prominence because of advances in defining normal tissue hierarchies, a greater appreciation of the multistep nature of oncogenesis and improved methods to propagate primary human cancers in immunodeficient mice. As a result we have obtained new insights into why the CSC concept is not universally applicable, as well as a new basis for understanding the complex evolution, phenotypic heterogeneity and therapeutic challenges of many human cancers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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