, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 815-823
Date: 13 Jun 2013

Targeted therapy aimed at cancer stem cells: Wilms’ tumor as an example


Wilms’ tumor (WT), a common renal pediatric solid tumor, serves as a model for a malignancy formed by renal precursor cells that have failed to differentiate properly. Here we review recent evidence showing that the tumors’ heterogeneous cell population contains a small fraction of cancer stem cells (CSC) identified by two markers: Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule 1 (NCAM1) expression and Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) enzymatic activity. In vivo studies show these CSCs to both self-renew and differentiate to give rise to all tumor components. Similar to other malignancies, the identification of a specific CSC fraction has allowed the examination of a novel targeted therapy, aimed at eradicating the CSC population. The loss of CSCs abolishes the tumor’s ability to sustain and propagate, hence, causing tumor degradation with minimal damage to normal tissue.