Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer Lett. 2013 Sep 10;338(1):158-67. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.05.028. Epub 2012 May 29.

Perspectives on cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States.


Osteosarcoma is an aggressive pediatric tumor of growing bones that, despite surgery and chemotherapy, is prone to relapse. These mesenchymal tumors are derived from progenitor cells in the osteoblast lineage that have accumulated mutations to escape cell cycle checkpoints leading to excessive proliferation and defects in their ability to differentiate appropriately into mature bone-forming osteoblasts. Like other malignant tumors, osteosarcoma is often heterogeneous, consisting of phenotypically distinct cells with features of different stages of differentiation. The cancer stem cell hypothesis posits that tumors are maintained by stem cells and it is the incomplete eradication of a refractory population of tumor-initiating stem cells that accounts for drug resistance and tumor relapse. In this review we present our current knowledge about the biology of osteosarcoma stem cells from mouse and human tumors, highlighting new insights and unresolved issues in the identification of this elusive population. We focus on factors and pathways that are implicated in maintaining such cells, and differences from paradigms of epithelial cancers. Targeting of the cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma is a promising avenue to explore to develop new therapies for this devastating childhood cancer.


Bone cancer; Cancer stem cell; FGF; Mesenchymal tumors; Osteosarcoma; Sox2; Tumor initiating cell; Wnt signaling

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center