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Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:630782. doi: 10.1155/2013/630782. Epub 2012 Dec 24.

Role of the microenvironment in ovarian cancer stem cell maintenance.

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Stem Cell and Microenvironment Laboratory, Department of Genetic Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Education City, Qatar Foundation, P.O. Box, Doha 24144, Qatar.


Despite recent progresses in cancer therapy and increased knowledge in cancer biology, ovarian cancer remains a challenging condition. Among the latest concepts developed in cancer biology, cancer stem cells and the role of microenvironment in tumor progression seem to be related. Indeed, cancer stem cells have been described in several solid tumors including ovarian cancers. These particular cells have the ability to self-renew and reconstitute a heterogeneous tumor. They are characterized by specific surface markers and display resistance to therapeutic regimens. During development, specific molecular cues from the tumor microenvironment can play a role in maintaining and expanding stemness of cancer cells. The tumor stroma contains several compartments: cellular component, cytokine network, and extracellular matrix. These different compartments interact to form a permissive niche for the cancer stem cells. Understanding the molecular cues underlying this crosstalk will allow the design of new therapeutic regimens targeting the niche. In this paper, we will discuss the mechanisms implicated in the interaction between ovarian cancer stem cells and their microenvironment.

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