Nature Reviews Cancer 11, 268-277 (April 2011) | doi:10.1038/nrc3034

The tumorigenicity of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells

Uri Ben-David1 & Nissim Benvenisty1  About the authors


The unique abilities of human pluripotent stem cells to self-renew and to differentiate into cells of the three germ layers make them an invaluable tool for the future of regenerative medicine. However, the same properties also make them tumorigenic, and therefore hinder their clinical application. Hence, the tumorigenicity of human embryonic stem cells (HESCs) has been extensively studied. Until recently, it was assumed that human induced pluripotent stem cells (HiPSCs) would behave like their embryonic counterparts in respect to their tumorigenicity. However, a rapidly accumulating body of evidence suggests that there are important genetic and epigenetic differences between these two cell types, which seem to influence their tumorigenicity.

Author affiliations

  1. Stem Cell Unit, Department of Genetics, Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.

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Published online 10 March 2011