Cancer Stem Cells and Drug Resistance

Cancer stem cells are cancer cells 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. The "mutation in stem cell niche populations during development" hypothesis claims that these developing stem populations are mutated and then reproduce so that the mutation is shared by many descendants. These daughter cells are much closer to becoming tumors and their numbers increase the chance of a cancerous mutation. De-differentiation of mutated cells may create stem cell-like characteristics, suggesting that any cell might become a cancer stem cell.

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