Stem cells in the biology of normal urothelium and urothelial carcinoma

2012 Neoplasma (Bratislava)  
Urothelium is a special type of stratified epithelium that lines the distal portion of the urinary tract. For a long time, basal urothelial cells have been suspected to include a population of urothelial stem cells. Recent experiments identifying label-retaining cells as well as lineage tracing analyses corroborate this notion. There are striking morphological and antigenic similarities between basal or differentiated urothelial cells and the corresponding cells in some urothelial carcinomas.
more » ... elial carcinomas. In this respect, basal cell-specific markers provide good candidates to identify urothelial carcinoma stem cells, e.g. specific cytokeratins (CK5, CK14, CK17) or adhesion molecules (specific integrin subspecies, CD44). Common properties of the stem cells of normal urothelium and urothelial cancer have thus emerged. Both are characterized by a remarkable plasticity and both rely on reciprocal interactions with stromal fibroblasts. However, the stem cells of individual urothelial carcinomas appear to differ considerably and may contribute to the heterogeneity of this disease. The presence, quantity, and particular biological nature of urothelial carcinoma stem cells in each case may thus carry important clinical information that might allow a rationale stratification of urothelial cancer patients for treatment in the near future.
doi:10.4149/neo_2012_089 pmid:22862174 fatcat:bhhca47n3fhrfa5yd5wjvlrrsu