Differentiation Programs in Development and Cancer
The majority of solid tumors, including breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancers, originate from normal epithelium. The differentiation programs of epithelial cells dictate their specialized function, including their cell shape, polarity, arrangement, and architecture. In epithelial malignancies, the differentiation status of a primary tumor strongly predicts its capacity for metastasis formation and resistance to chemotherapeutic agents (Bloom and Richardson 1957; Contesso et al. 1987). Poorly differentiated neoplasias typically harbor higher rates of distant metastasis formation and thus carry poorer prognoses compared to their well-differentiated counterparts. The loss of tumor differentiation is one of the central hallmarks of malignant progression, the process by which a primary tumor acquires the capacity for dissemination and metastasis (Gupta and Massague 2006; Hanahan and Weinberg 2000). Genetic studies in mice and other organisms have uncovered the molecular basis for epithelial differentiation, which is shedding light on the pathogenesis of epithelial malignancies and revealing new strategies for cancer therapeutic development.
KeywordsBreast Cancer Mammary Gland Luminal Cell Metastasis Formation Disseminate Tumor Cell
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