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Chin J Cancer. 2013 Feb;32(2):71-4. doi: 10.5732/cjc.012.10097. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

The role of stem cells in airway repair: implications for the origins of lung cancer.

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Thoracic Oncology Program, Department of Surgery, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Recently, advancements in our ability to identify and study stem cell populations in the lung have helped researchers to elucidate the central role that cells with stem cell-like properties may have in lung tumorigenesis. Much of this research has focused on the use of the airway repair model to study response to injury. In this review, we discuss the primary evidence of the role that cancer stem cells play in lung cancer development. The implications of a stem cell origin of lung cancer are reviewed, and the importance of ongoing research to identify novel therapeutic and prognostic targets is reiterated.

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