Virchows Archiv

, Volume 455, Issue 1, pp 1–13

Stem cells and solid cancers

  • Stuart A. C. McDonald
  • Trevor A. Graham
  • Stefanie Schier
  • Nicholas A. Wright
  • Malcolm R. Alison
Review and Perspective


Recently, there have been significant advances in our knowledge of stem cells found in tissues that can develop solid tumours. In particular, novel stem cell markers have been identified for the first time identifying multipotential cells: a required characteristic of a stem cell. The scarcity of cancer stem cells has been questioned. Current dogma states that they are rare, but novel research has suggested that this may not be the case. Here, we review the latest literature on stem cells, particularly cancer stem cells within solid tumours. We discuss current thinking on how stem cells develop into cancer stem cells and how they protect themselves from doing so and do they express unique markers that can be used to detect stem cells. We attempt to put into perspective these latest advances in stem cell biology and their potential for cancer therapy.


Stem cell Cancer stem cell Intestine Liver Lung 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart A. C. McDonald
    • 1
    • 2
  • Trevor A. Graham
    • 2
  • Stefanie Schier
    • 2
  • Nicholas A. Wright
    • 2
    • 4
  • Malcolm R. Alison
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Gastroenterology, Institute of Cell and Molecular ScienceBarts and the London School of Medicine and DentistryLondonUK
  2. 2.Histopathology Unit, Cancer Research UKLondon Research InstituteLondonUK
  3. 3.Centre for Diabetes, Institute of Cell and Molecular ScienceBarts and the London School of Medicine and DentistryLondonUK
  4. 4.Institute of Cell and Molecular ScienceBarts and the London School of Medicine and DentistryLondonUK

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