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Cytotechnology. 2013 Aug;65(4):505-12. doi: 10.1007/s10616-012-9517-3. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Cancer stem cell hypothesis: a brief summary and two proposals.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Molecular Engineering of Ministry of Education, Institute of Biotechnology, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, 030006, People's Republic of China.


The investigation and development of the cancer stem cell (CSC) model has received much focus during these years. CSC is characterized as a small fraction of cancer cells that have an indefinite ability for self-renewal and pluripotency and are responsible for initiating and sustaining of the bulk of cancer. So, whether current treatment strategies, most of which target the rapid division of cancer cells, could interfere with the slow-cycling CSCs is broadly questioned. Meanwhile, however, the new understanding of tumorigenesis has led to the development of new drug screening strategies. Both stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells have been vigorously used in pre-clinical studies of their anti-tumor potential, mainly due to their inherent tumoritropic migratory properties and their ability to carry anti-tumor transgenes. Here, based on the tumorigenic and tumoritropic characteristics of CSCs, we proposed two hypotheses exploring possible usage of CSCs as novel anti-tumor agents and potential sources for tissue regeneration. Further experimental validation of these hypotheses may unravel some new research topics.

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