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Abstract

The cancer stem cell (CSC) model states that tumors contain a reservoir of self-renewing cells that maintain the heterogeneous cell population of the tumor. These cells appear to be resistant to therapy and can therefore survive to repopulate the tumor during progression to therapy resistant disease. The biology of CSCs is still not definitive since it is difficult to isolate them from solid tumors and analyze their characteristics in vitro. Another challenge is to correlate these characteristics with tumor development and progression in vivo. Using the prostate CSC as a model, this review presents the CSC hypothesis, reviews the origin, identification and functions of prostate CSCs, and discusses the clinical implications and therapeutic challenges CSCs have for cancer therapy. J. Cell. Physiol. 216: 332–336, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.