Nature Reviews Cancer 8, 755-768 (October 2008) | doi:10.1038/nrc2499

Cancer stem cells in solid tumours: accumulating evidence and unresolved questions

See also: | Correspondence by Olivier Gires | Correspondence by Geoffrey J. Lindeman |

Jane E. Visvader1 & Geoffrey J. Lindeman1,2  About the authors


Solid tumours are an enormous cancer burden and a major therapeutic challenge. The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis provides an attractive cellular mechanism to account for the therapeutic refractoriness and dormant behaviour exhibited by many of these tumours. There is increasing evidence that diverse solid tumours are hierarchically organized and sustained by a distinct subpopulation of CSCs. Direct evidence for the CSC hypothesis has recently emerged from mouse models of epithelial tumorigenesis, although alternative models of heterogeneity also seem to apply. The clinical relevance of CSCs remains a fundamental issue but preliminary findings indicate that specific targeting may be possible.

Author affiliations

  1. VBCRC Laboratory, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria 3050, Australia
  2. Department of Medical Oncology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.

Correspondence to: Jane E. Visvader1 Email:

Published online 11 September 2008


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