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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2011, Article ID 465343, 11 pages
Review Article

Cancer Stem Cells: Repair Gone Awry?

1Division of Cellular Therapy, Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
2Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Snyderman Building (GSRB-1), 595 LaSalle Street, Suite 1073, Durham, NC 27710, USA

Received 20 September 2010; Accepted 23 October 2010

Academic Editor: Bo Lu

Copyright © 2011 Fatima Rangwala et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Because cell turnover occurs in all adult organs, stem/progenitor cells within the stem-cell niche of each tissue must be appropriately mobilized and differentiated to maintain normal organ structure and function. Tissue injury increases the demands on this process, and thus may unmask defective regulation of pathways, such as Hedgehog (Hh), that modulate progenitor cell fate. Hh pathway dysregulation has been demonstrated in many types of cancer, including pancreatic and liver cancers, in which defective Hh signaling has been linked to outgrowth of Hh-responsive cancer stem-initiating cells and stromal elements. Hence, the Hh pathway might be a therapeutic target in such tumors.