The identification of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) in leukemia has opened a new field in cancer
research. This has led to the identification of similar cells in other types of cancer. CSCs express distinct
surface markers and functional properties which distinguish them from the rest of the cells within a tumor.
Due to variability in identification of CSCs in a particular type of cancer (except brain, breast and
leukemia), surface markers alone may not be sufficient. It is critical to identify and isolate this small
population of cells from the heterogeneous tumors to understand their pathogenesis. Identification of surface
markers together with intrinsic properties of CSCs like colony formation, Hoechst exclusion or
ALDEFLUOR assay may be useful in isolating more primitive and highly pure CSCs from a heterogeneous
population of malignant cells. This review critically analyses various techniques and methods along
with their advantages and disadvantages that are employed in identifying CSCs from different types of
Keywords: Cancer stem cells, cell surface markers, combined approach, intrinsic properties, techniques.
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport