Stem Cells and Uterine Fibroids
Although little is known on the origin of leiomyoma tumorigenesis, increasing evidence supports the hypothesis that leiomyomas arise from a stem cell population in the uterus. Recent articles on stem cells and their paracrine interactions with more specialized cell populations within leiomyomas may help to establish the missing link between the development of treatments designed to stop the growth of leiomyomas and therapies devised to eliminate them. Studies to identify leiomyoma stem or progenitor cell markers might offer new possibilities for understanding the origin of these tumors and perhaps aid the development of noninvasive treatments. Adult (or somatic) stem cells constitute a subset of cells residing in normal tissues. By undergoing asymmetric division, they retain their ability to self-renew while producing daughter cells that go on to differentiate and play a role in tissue regeneration and repair. The unique properties of the uterus to enlarge and remodel suggest the existence of uterine stem cell systems. Neoplastic stem cells or tumor-initiating cells, a subset of cells within a tumor, have the ability to reconstitute tumors. Leiomyomas appear to be monoclonal tumors derived from a single myocyte. Work in recent years has identified, isolated, and characterized putative stem or progenitor cells in the myometrium and in leiomyomas. Here, we review the current literature on leiomyoma stem and progenitor cells and provide a new paradigm for understanding their pathology.
KeywordsLeiomyoma Myoma Stem cells Adult stem cells Neoplastic stem cells
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that no conflicts of interest exist.
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