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Panminerva Medica 2008 March;50(1):65-71


lingua: Inglese

Tissue stem cells and cancer stem cells: potential implications for gastric cancer

Gumucio D. L. 1, Fagoonee S. 2, Qiao X. T. 1, Liebert M. 3, Merchant J. L. 3, 4, Altruda F. 2, Rizzetto M. 5, Pellicano R. 5

1 Department of Cell and Developmental Biology University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA 2 Department of Genetics, Biology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology Center University of Turin, Turin, Italy 3 Department of Urology University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA 4 Department of Internal Medicine University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA 5 Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA 6 Department of Gastro-Hepatology Molinette Hospital, Turin, Italy


Gastric cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the world today, making the search for its molecular and cellular basis an important priority. Though recognition of the tight link between inflammation and tumorigenesis is centuries old, only recently are the pieces of the etiological puzzle beginning to fall together. Recent advances in gastric stem cell biology appear to be central to this slowly resolving puzzle. At least two types of stem cells may be important. Resident adult or tissue stem cells may, in a chronically inflamed environment, slowly acquire a series of genetic and epigenetic changes that lead to their emergence as “cancer stem cells”. This scenario has not yet been proven experimentally, although the first step, prospective recognition of a gastric stem cell has recently been conquered. Alternatively, the setting of chronic inflammatory stress and injury may lead to loss of the indigenous gastric stem cells from their niches; bone marrow derived stem cells may then be recruited to and engraft into the gastric epithelium. Such recruited cells have the potential to contribute to the tumor mass. Indeed, evidence supporting this scenario has been published. Here, we review these recent findings and discuss implications for the future.

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