A fundamental problem in cancer research is identification of the cells responsible for tumor formation. The
latest field of cancer research has revealed the existence and role of cancer stem cells (CSCs). These findings support the
idea that malignancies originate from a small fraction of cancer cells that show self-renewal and multi- or pluripotency.
Identification of this CSC population has important implications for the management of cancer patients, including diagnostic
and predictive laboratory assays as well as novel therapeutic strategies that specifically target CSCs. In this study,
we investigated the growth rates of CSC populations for comparison with cancer cell lines. To construct the growth
curves, blood-derived CSCs were isolated from patients with breast, colon, or lung cancer and cultured in vitro. Quantitative
real-time PCR was then performed to identify CSCs in the samples. We found that CSCs did not follow the common
pattern of a typical growth curve of mammalian cells in contrast to the cancer cell lines. This observation of rapidly growing
CSCs indicates their involvement in tumor formation.
Keywords: Cancer stem cells, growth curves, Nanog, Oct3/4, Sox2.
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