The molecular basis of different approaches for the study of cancer stem cells and the advantages and disadvantages of a three-dimensional culture
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2140
EDITED VERSION: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/26/9/2615
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a rare tumor subpopulation with high differentiation, proliferative and tumorigenic potential compared to the remaining tumor population. CSCs were first discovered by Bonnet and Dick in 1997 in acute myeloid leukemia. The identification and isolation of these cells in this pioneering study were carried out through the flow cytometry, exploiting the presence of specific cell surface molecular markers (CD34+/CD38−). In the following years, different strategies and projects have been developed for the study of CSCs, which are basically divided into surface markers assays and functional assays; some of these techniques also allow working with a cellular model that better mimics the tumor architecture. The purpose of this mini review is to summarize and briefly describe all the current methods used for the identification, isolation and enrichment of CSCs, describing, where possible, the molecular basis, the advantages and disadvantages of each technique with a particular focus on those that offer a three-dimensional culture.
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