Leukemic stem cells as models of tumour stem cells Volume 13, issue 2, Mars-Avril 2007

Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Centre de ressources biologiques en oncologie, Centre de thérapie cellulaire et génique, Centre régional de lutte contre le cancer, 232 bd Sainte-Marguerite, 13273 Marseille Cedex 9, France, Centre d’investigations cliniques en biothérapie, Université de la Méditerranée, 13007 Marseille, France, Inserm, U599, Centre de recherches en cancérologie de Marseille, Equipe recherche clinique, 13009 Marseille, France

Tumour stem cells – including leukaemia stem cells – are currently the subject of intense scrutiny, in part due to therapeutic implications. Cancer stem cells contribute to tumour heterogeneity, including response to anti-cancer agents. Their identification and the understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie their existence remains however difficult to apprehend : hypotheses are nearly more abundant than scientific observations, as demonstrated by the high numbers of published reviews – including this one – as compared to original manuscripts. Similarly to normal haematopoietic tissues serving as a model of normal stem cells, leukemias provided many available information on various properties of tumour stem cells.