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MINI-REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-8

The basic concept of the tumor stem cell model


Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Program, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Bikul Das
Department of Pediatrics, Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Program, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2278-0521.94977

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Both theoretical and experimental evidence support the concept of a tumor stem cell (TSC) model - a rare population of self-renewing stem cells among the heterogeneous mixture of tumor cells essential for solid tumor growth and progression. However, this growing evidence is not by itself convincing without an adequate molecular mechanism explaining how these TSCs maintain their stemness, since there is always a possibility that the so-called solid tumor TSCs may be a highly tumorigenic fraction of the heterogeneous mixture of tumor cells. The lack of knowledge of how TSCs maintain their state of stemness is therefore a major limitation that requires attention in order to improve our understanding on the stem cell model of tumor growth. An emerging and provocative concept in tumor biology is that a rare population of tumor stem cells exists among the heterogeneous population of cells within tumors. The TSC model suggests that proliferative potential and growth patterns of many human tumors may depend upon a small proportion of tumor stem cells that lead to repopulation following cytotoxic therapy. In this review, we will briefly discuss the basic concept of the TSC model and the emerging findings of the existence of the TSC fraction, even in established tumor cell lines.


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