Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 6, 2008

Prowling wolves in sheep's clothing: the search for tumor stem cells

Ibrahim Alkatout, Dieter Kabelitz, Holger Kalthoff and Sanjay Tiwari
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The importance of a subset of cells which have ‘stem like’ characteristics and are capable of tumor initiation has been reported for a range of tumors. Isolation of these tumor-initiating cells (TICs) has largely been based on differential cell surface protein expression. However, there is still much debate on the functional significance of these markers in initiating tumors, as many properties of tumor initiation are modified by cell-cell interactions. In particular, the relationship between TICs and their microenvironment is poorly understood but has therapeutic implications, as the microenvironment can maintain tumor cells in a prolonged period of quiescence. However, a major limitation in advancing our understanding of the crosstalk between TICs and their microenvironment is the lack of sensitive techniques which allow the in vivo tracking and monitoring of TICs. Application of new in vivo cellular and molecular imaging technologies holds much promise in uncovering the mysteries of TIC behavior at the three-dimensional level. This review will describe recent advances in our understanding of the TIC concept and how the application of in vivo imaging techniques can advance our understanding of the biological fate of TICs. A supplementary resource guide describing TICs from different malignancies is also presented.

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Published Online: 2008-06-06
Published in Print: 2008-07-01

©2008 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York