Cancer Stem Cells: Properties, Principles and Models

Tumours are made up of your heterogeneous population of cells that are distinct in conditions of their differentiation competencies, proliferative features as well as efficient properties. [A] The mechanisms in charge of such heterogeneity will be the subject of research, and two models have been put forth to be able to describe the occurrence - Cancer tumor stem cells (CSCs) and clonal development. [A]

Cancer stem cells are a subset of the full total population of cells in a tumour which have the capability to undertake self-renewal, as well as to differentiate into the several types of skin cells that comprise the tumour. [A] These CSCs are reported to be accountable for tumorigenesis as well for driving tumour development. [U]

Evidence assisting the living of cancer tumor stem cells

Differences in clonogenicity among cancer tumor cells were first noted in circumstances of leukaemia and multiple myeloma. It was found that 0. 01 - 1% of the skin cells were capable of comprehensive proliferation, and in a position to establish colonies when cultivated in vitro (Area, C. H. , Bergsagel, D. E. & McCulloch, E. A. Mouse myeloma tumor stem skin cells: an initial cell culture assay. J. Natl Tumors Inst. 46, 411-422 (1971). Two possible explanations been around for this - either leukemic skin cells had a minimal overall convenience of proliferation, or only a definite subset of the skin cells were clonogenic.

In 1994, John Dick and his group of researchers carried out a landmark research where CSCs were isolated from a mouse model that were transplanted with individuals AML skin cells. [Z15] This is the first conclusive evidence for the life of a subset of the leukaemia cells that were highly clonogenic, in comparison to the remaining cancer tumor cells.

It was later discovered a similar condition is present in the case of solid tumours, where only a tiny subset of the full total cell inhabitants is tumorigenic. [G]

Origins of tumors stem cells

Several contradictory theories exist about the cellular roots of tumor stem cells. Some declare that these cells derive from normal stem skin cells that have bought oncogenic mutations [G], others refute this with the declare that cancer stem skin cells can arise from a committed progenitor cell that has obtained the properties of your stem-cell during its cancerous transformation [Z1], while while others claim that these cells could arise therefore of an fusion event between a stem cell and a tumour cell. [N]

The idea that cancers could occur from normal stem cells is highly plausible because not only do they continuously undergo divisions, however they are also long resided, allowing them to gather multiple mutations, as is required for a cancerous transformation. [B]

Apart from the deposition of mutations, the relationship of the cell using its local microenvironment also affects the tumorigenic process. Mouse leukaemia models have been able to provide evidence that given suited area of interest conditions, a progenitor cell is with the capacity of de-differentiating to create a CSC. [V] However, since most progenitor and mature cells have a comparatively short life-span, it appears unlikely that'll be able to find the oncogenic mutations required to render them tumorigenic. [I]

Despite these explanations, the exact origin of most tumours and tumor stem skin cells remains undiscovered, and can only just be speculated predicated on experimental results. [A] Additionally, regardless of the origin, the recognition and isolation of CSCs in a tumour implies that there is a functional hierarchy prevails within the tumour structure. [L]

Properties of malignancy stem cells

These skin cells can undergo symmetric as well as asymmetric divisions, which results in the extension of the malignancy stem cell populace itself, as well as a rise in the number of differentiated cells that constitute the bulk of the tumour. [Z1]


As previously mentioned, two models have been put forth to clarify the heterogeneity of the tumour cell population. The first model is the CSC model, also known as the hierarchical model, which suggests that in a tumour, there exist different classes of cells and that the CSCs signify a biologically distinct subpopulation of skin cells that are capable of propagating the tumour. [C] It shows that the characteristics of the cells within the tumour are intrinsically identified and therefore only certain skin cells possess the capability to undergo intensive proliferation to initiate tumour creation, these skin cells are called the CSCs; as the remaining skin cells are not capable of tumorigenisis.

According to the CSC model, although melanoma arise from several cells that are genetically monoclonal in aspect, the higher level of tumour heterogeneity is a result of the discussion between skin cells that are in various state governments of differentiation after have initiated from the precursor. [Z12]

Evidence encouraging this hypothesis emerges from the observation that though tumours may at first answer well to chemotherapy, there is often a case of relapse; that could occur due to the CSCs that persist post-treatment and are then able to re-initiate tumour creation. [Z13]

There are, however, constraints to the CSC model; the first being that all studies that support it have only resolved the potential of the skin cells to proliferate and give rise to tumours, however, not the actual destiny. [D] Since the conditions put on test the tumorigenic potential of these cells may vary substantially from the conditions experienced by the cells in vivo, we have no idea which of the cells actually contribute to the establishment and development of the principal tumour. Additionally it is noteworthy that it's been found that if the population of cancer cells acquires an immense number of mutations and aberrations, then almost all of them begin to show stem-like properties. [C] When this happens, the CSC model becomes irrelevant.

On the other hand, the stochastic model expresses that skin cells in a tumour are biologically equal, and that every cell has the capacity to become a CSC, given the right circumstances. A combo of intrinsic and extrinsic affects is said to determine the proliferative capacity and the ultimate fate of an cell. [C] Behaviour of a cell is therefore not pre-determined by intrinsic personas alone and tumour initiating skin cells cannot be enriched.

It is however likely for both these paradigms to be observed in vivo, in different cancers. Some malignancies may follow the CSC model, while some may not. Predicated on transplantation studies in mice, it's been found that only in a portion of cases, does indeed AML follow the CSC model while in others there is no research for the existence of an extremely tumorigenic sub-population of cells that continue to screen CSC activity upon serial propagation. [F] Therefore, although CSCs may be in charge of driving the growth of most tumours and cancers, there are studies which signify that certain malignancies may be suffered primarily by the majority of the tumour cells. [F]


Cancer stem cell assays

Purification and enrichment techniques

CSC markers

CSCs in a variety of cancers


Based on the study of the CSC model, the question comes up as to whether similar hierarchical subpopulations of tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic are observed in patients experiencing the same type of tumor; and whether these tumorigenic CSCs can be isolated based on conserved cell- surface markers. Nonetheless it has been discovered that there tend to be phenotypic differences in CSCs even within the same tumors sub-type. [E]

For example, though it's been discovered that the Disc44+/CD24- populace of breast malignancy cells are usually tumorigenic, this is not universally the case and in certain cases, it's been found that skin cells of diverse phenotypes are able to become CSCs. (Al-Hajj, M. , Wicha, M. S. , Benito-Hernandez, A. , Morrison, S. J. , and Clarke, M. F. (2003). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100, 3983-3988. ) Similarly, in gliomas Compact disk133 expression is not always associated with CSCs, and using instances Compact disc133- cells are also found to be tumorigenic. (Beier, D. et al. Disc133+ and CD133- glioblastoma derived cancer stem skin cells show differential progress characteristics and molecular profiles. Tumors Res. 67, 4010-4015 (2007).

Apart from the phenotype, the consistency of CSCs in a good tumour or people of cancer cells is also varying. In melanomas, CSCs constitute anything between 1. 6 to 20% of the full total cells, within the case of colorectal carcinomas, they stand for between 1. 8 to 24. 5% of the skin cells. [A] Additionally, in general, the percentage of CSCs in sound tumours has been found to be significantly higher than the percentage of leukemic stem skin cells. [Z15]

This heterogeneity has implications on the prognosis of the disease as well as the final results of various healing interventions. It really is envisioned that with the id of more enhanced markers and improved upon methods for dedication of CSC regularity, we might eventually be able to correlate the percentage of CSCs with the tumour quality and the results. [A]

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