Melanoma stem cells: implications for therapy


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Markus Frank

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, USA

Abstract

Melanoma stem cells: implications for therapy

Cancer stem cells (CSC) that drive tumour initiation and growth through self-renewal and differentiation have been identified in cancers of the haematopoietic lineage and certain solid tumours. Recent findings in human malignant melanoma point to a specific relationship of such tumourigenic minority populations to therapeutic resistance and neoplastic progression. Furthermore, initial proof-of-concept has been established that specific targeting of CSC for cell killing is sufficient to halt experimental tumour growth. These findings indicate that CSC-targeted strategies involving CSC ablation, modulation of CSC-specific molecular pathways or inhibition of CSC-dependent functions in tumour progression could be suited to improve conventional cytotoxic therapies, which are believed to spare refractory tumour initiators responsible for recurrence and metastasis.