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Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Jun 14;10(6):717-28. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.05.007.

Cancer stem cells: current status and evolving complexities.

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VBCRC Laboratory, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, VIC 3052, Australia; University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3050, Australia.


The cancer stem cell (CSC) model has been established as a cellular mechanism that contributes to phenotypic and functional heterogeneity in diverse cancer types. Recent observations, however, have highlighted many complexities and challenges: the CSC phenotype can vary substantially between patients, tumors may harbor multiple phenotypically or genetically distinct CSCs, metastatic CSCs can evolve from primary CSCs, and tumor cells may undergo reversible phenotypic changes. Although the CSC concept will have clinical relevance in specific cases, accumulating evidence suggests that it will be imperative to target all CSC subsets within the tumor to prevent relapse.

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