Leukemia Stem Cells

  • Markus MüschenEmail author


Normal hematopoiesis develops hierarchically from a hematopoietic stem cell, which is defined by both extensive self-renewal capacity and multi-lineage potential, i.e. the ability to give rise to fully differentiated cells of all hematopoietic lineages. Since leukemia can be considered as malignant hematopoiesis, the existence of a developmental hierarchy in leukemia with a malignant stem cell at its apex was postulated almost three decades ago. Recent data questioned the presence of a unique leukemia stem cell population in some subtypes of leukemia. In other leukemia subtypes, however, leukemia stem cell populations have been extensively characterized with respect to their self-renewal capacity, multilineage potential, their phenotype and the signaling pathways that are required for their maintenance. Importantly, recent data show that leukemia stem cells are not only required for initiation of leukemia at its onset. They also represent the rare leukemia cell population that gives rise to relapse and drug-resistance of the disease in patients. Here, current data on the cellular origin, phenotype and central signaling pathways of self-renewal in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) subtypes of leukemia are being reviewed.


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) Leukemia stem cell (LSC) SCID-repopulating cell (SRC) SCID leukemia-initiating cell (SL-IC) 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leukemia Research ProgramChildrens Hospital Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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