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Cell Stem Cell. 2015 Sep 3;17(3):260-71. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2015.08.014.

Therapeutic Implications of Cellular Heterogeneity and Plasticity in Breast Cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
2
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. Electronic address: mwicha@umich.edu.

Abstract

Cellular heterogeneity represents one of the greatest challenges in cancer therapeutics. In many malignancies, this heterogeneity is generated during tumor evolution through a combination of genetic alterations and epigenetic events that recapitulate normal developmental processes including stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Many, if not most, tumors display similar hierarchal organization, at the apex of which are "stem-like cells" that drive tumor growth, mediate metastasis, and contribute to treatment resistance. Using breast cancer as a model, we discuss how an improved understanding of tumor cellular heterogeneity and plasticity may lead to development of more effective therapeutic strategies.

PMID:
26340526
PMCID:
PMC4560840
DOI:
10.1016/j.stem.2015.08.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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