Cancer cells found within tumors or hematological cancers that possess characteristics associated with normal stem cells , specifically the ability to give rise to all cell types found in a particular cancer sample. CSCs are therefore tumorigenic (tumor-forming), perhaps in contrast to other non-tumorigenic cancer cells. CSCs may generate tumors through the stem cell processes of self-renewal and differentiation into multiple cell types. Such cells are proposed to persist in tumors as a distinct population and cause relapse and metastasis by giving rise to new tumors. Therefore, development of specific therapies targeted at CSCs holds hope for improvement of survival and quality of life of cancer patients, especially for sufferers of metastatic disease.
A number of studies have focused on identifying specific cancer stem cell markers. Pancreatic cancer stem cells express the surface markers CD44, CD24 and epithelial specific antigen (ESA). It has also been identified that liver progenitor cells share molecular markers with adult hepatocytes and fetal hepatocytes. In addition, markers frequently used to identify adult stem cells within the prostate, breast and intestine include CD44, CD133, ESA, CD69, p63, as well as some stem cell antigen, such as CD34, c-kit, Flt-3, NCAM, and Thy-1.
Article reproduced from Signalway Antibody