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Identification of a Cell of Origin for Human Prostate Cancer

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Science  30 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5991, pp. 568-571
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189992

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Another Cell Culprit in Prostate Cancer

A recent controversial hypothesis about the cellular origins of human cancer, the so-called “cancer stem cell hypothesis,” has fueled interest in identifying the specific cell types that give rise to common epithelial cancers. A single, well-defined cell of origin could, in principle, lead to more effective targeted therapies. Based on histological evidence and/or studies of mouse tumors, luminal cells are believed to be the cell of origin in prostate cancer. Now, using functional assays of cells derived from benign human prostate tissue, Goldstein et al. (p. 568) find that a different cell type, basal cells, can give rise in mice to prostate tumors that closely resemble human prostate tumors. Thus, the cellular origin of prostate cancer may be more complex than anticipated.