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Maintenance of Cell Type Diversification in the Human Breast

  • Agla Jael Rubner Fridriksdottir
  • René Villadsen
  • Thorarinn Gudjonsson
  • Ole William Petersen
Article

Abstract

Recent genome-wide expression analysis of breast cancer has brought new life to the classical idea of tumors as caricatures of the process of tissue renewal as envisioned by Pierce and Speers (Cancer Res 1988;48:1996–2004) more than a decade ago. The search for a cancer founder cell or different cancer founder cells is only possible if a hierarchy of differentiation has been established for the particular tissue in question. In the human breast, the luminal epithelial and myoepithelial lineages have been characterized extensively in situ by increasingly elaborate panel of markers, and methods to isolate, culture, and clone different subpopulations have improved dramatically. Comparisons have been made with the mouse mammary gland in physiological three-dimensional culture assays of morphogenesis, and the plasticity of breast epithelial cells has been challenged by immortalization and transformation. As a result of these efforts, several candidate progenitor cells have been proposed independently of each other, and some of their features have been compared. This research has all been done to better understand breast tissue homeostasis, cell-type diversification in general and breast cancer evolution in particular. The present review discusses the current approaches to address these issues and the measures taken to unravel and maintain cell type diversification for further investigation.

human breast epithelium lineages hierarchy differentiation plasticity morphogenesis 

Abbreviations used

TDLU

terminal duct lobular unit

ESA

epithelial specific antigen

CK

cytokeratin

CALLA

common acute lymphoblastic leukemia antigen

α-SMA

α-smooth muscle actin

SP

side population

SLC

small light cell

ULLC

undifferentiated large light cell

DLLC

differentiated large light cell

LDC

large dark cell

rBM

reconstituted basement membrane

ERα

estrogen receptor-α

PR

progesterone receptor

Msi-1

Musashi-1

3D

three-dimensional

HPV-16

human papilloma virus-16

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agla Jael Rubner Fridriksdottir
    • 1
  • René Villadsen
    • 1
  • Thorarinn Gudjonsson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ole William Petersen
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Structural Cell Biology UnitInstitute of Medical Anatomy, The Panum InstituteCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Molecular and Cell Biology Research LaboratoryIcelandic Cancer SocietyReykjavikIceland
  3. 3.Faculty of Medical ScienceUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  4. 4.Structural Cell Biology UnitInstitute of Medical Anatomy, The Panum InstituteCopenhagen NDenmark

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