A cancer stem cell origin for human endometrial carcinoma?

Sonya Hubbard, Caroline Eve Gargett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Endometrial cancer (EC) is the most common gynaecological malignancy affecting women in the western world. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are defined as a subset of tumour cells with the capacity to self-renew and give rise to the differentiated cells that comprise the bulk of the tumour. Given that a rare population of epithelial stem/progenitor cells has been identified in human endometrium, it is possible that these cells or their progeny may be the source of the putative CSCs that may initiate and maintain EC. Studies have shown that some cells within EC have the capacity to initiate clones that undergo self-renewing cell division and form tumours in vivo that can be serially passaged, demonstrating self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation abilities of the potential EC stem cells (ECSCs). These potential ECSCs may be located within the tumour cell population expressing CD133 and/or within the side population. With the discovery of markers for ECSCs, it is hoped that ECSCs can be isolated and characterised, and that their role in the development of human EC will be further investigated. This knowledge opens the way for the development of new treatment modalities that target the CSCs, but spares normal endometrial stem/progenitor cells and other cells. Such treatments will be particularly useful for early-stage and pre-menopausal EC candidates where the uterus may be conserved, and for late-stage cases where hysterectomy is not curative and current treatments target the bulk tumour cells rather than CSCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23 - 32
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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