A prominent model of tumor progression posits that normal self-renewing and multipotent stem cells. (SCs) are the initial target of transformation. This view has been robustly challenged by the recurring observation that transit-amplifying cells and differentiated progenitors can initiate neoplasia outside the SC zone thus qualifying as cancer cells-of-origin. The emerging concept is that a cancer SC and a cancer cell-of-origin are not necessarily the same cell. Importantly, progenitor cells were shown to possess remarkable plasticity and to revert, on demand, to a SC-like state. The present review revisits our early hypothesis that colonic progenitors acquiring a mutant adenomatous polyposis coli gene after exiting the stem zone may serve as genuine cancer cells-of-origin. New findings consonant with this view are examined, and tenable molecular and cellular mechanisms underpinning the plasticity of progenitor cells in the gastrointestinal tract and in other tissues are discussed. The translational impact of cell plasticity is addressed, and recommendations for future research are advanced.
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - 11 Mar 2015|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research