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Keywords:

  • prostate cancer;
  • cancer stem cells;
  • metastasis;
  • tumor microenvironment

Abstract

Most solid tumors have now been reported to contain stem cell-like cells called cancer stem cells (CSCs). These cells are endowed with high tumorigenic capacity and may be the cells that drive tumor formation, maintain tumor homeostasis, and mediate tumor metastasis. Since these self-renewing cancer cells may be the sole population to develop a primary tumor, it is predicted that CSCs may also represent the lethal seeds of metastasis, as supported by a flurry of recent studies on the relationship between CSCs and metastasis. Herein, we summarize current knowledge of stem/progenitor cells and CSCs, especially in the context of normal human prostate and prostate cancer. We further update the recently gained knowledge on the involvement of CSCs in metastasis. We also discuss the fundamental influence of tumor microenvironment on the manifestation of CSCs and metastasis. Finally, we discuss the clinical implication of CSC-based therapy. J. Surg. Oncol. 2011;103:558–562. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.