The maintenance and repair of many adult tissues are ensured by stem cells (SCs), which reside at the top of the cellular hierarchy of these tissues. Functional assays, such as in vitro clonogenic assays, transplantation and in vivo lineage tracing, have been used to assess the renewing and differentiation potential of normal SCs. Similar strategies have suggested that solid tumours may also be hierarchically organized and contain cancer SCs (CSCs) that sustain tumour growth and relapse after therapy. In this Opinion article, we discuss the different parallels that can be drawn between adult SCs and CSCs in solid tumours.
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We apologize for the works not cited in the text owing to space restriction. B.B. is a chargé de recherche of the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS). C.B. is an investigator of Walloon Excellence in Lifesciences and Biotechnology. C.B. is supported by the FNRS, the Interuniversity Attraction Poles programme, the ARC programme (Action de Recherche Concertée), a research grant from the Fondation Contre le Cancer, the Université Libre de Bruxelles fondation, the fond Gaston Ithier, and a starting grant from the European Research Council.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Beck, B., Blanpain, C. Unravelling cancer stem cell potential. Nat Rev Cancer 13, 727–738 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc3597
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