Breast cancer stem cells

Kazuharu Kai, Yoshimi Arima, Toshio Kamiya, Hideyuki Saya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Since the initial discovery of leukemia stem cells nearly a decade ago, a great deal of cancer research has focused on the identification of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in many types of solid tumors, including breast cancer. Through analysis of cell surface markers and xenotransplant models, a subpopulation of putative human breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) that is CD24-negative/CD44- positive (CD24-/ CD44+) and bears high aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 activity has been isolated in clinical samples of breast cancer tissues. Human BCSCs are considered to be derived from basal cells that reside in the basal membranes of alveolar units in human adult mammary glands. Furthermore, BCSCs have been shown to express higher levels of oxidative stress-responsive genes, which could confer part of their ability to resist anti-cancer therapy, than non-CSCs. The emerging picture of the biological properties of BCSCs would contribute for devising innovative therapies for breast cancer, targeting the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that maintain the BCSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalBreast Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT)
  • Niche
  • Self-renewal
  • Somatic (tissue-specific) stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Breast cancer stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this