Cell division in cancer stem cells

Stem cells can divide symmetrically or asymmetrically: while the symmetric division results in two new SCs; asymmetric division gives rise to a new stem cell and a daughter cell that undergoes a differentiation process. Stem cells alternate between these two division types. Asymmetric cell division is regulated by some intrinsic factors such as the specific arrangement of cell polarity and/or cell fate factors like Numb or PAR-aPKC, and by extrinsic mechanism like the stem cell niche. Thus, asymmetric division is not necessary for stem-cell identity but rather is a tool that stem cells can use to maintain appropriate numbers of progeny. The facultative use of symmetric or asymmetric divisions by stem cells may be a key adaptation that is crucial for adult regenerative capacity [42]. The result of each division is different; since symmetric cell division gives rise to induce new tumors, the machinery that promotes asymmetric cell divisions has an evolutionarily conserved role in tumor suppression [43, 44].

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