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Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Oct;13(10):727-38. doi: 10.1038/nrc3597.

Unravelling cancer stem cell potential.

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Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Biologie Humaine et Moléculaire (IRIBHM), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 808 route de Lennik, 1070 Brussels, Belgium.


The maintenance and repair of many adult tissues are ensured by stem cells (SCs), which reside at the top of the cellular hierarchy of these tissues. Functional assays, such as in vitro clonogenic assays, transplantation and in vivo lineage tracing, have been used to assess the renewing and differentiation potential of normal SCs. Similar strategies have suggested that solid tumours may also be hierarchically organized and contain cancer SCs (CSCs) that sustain tumour growth and relapse after therapy. In this Opinion article, we discuss the different parallels that can be drawn between adult SCs and CSCs in solid tumours.

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