Published online Dec 31, 2009. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v1.i1.49
Revised: August 20, 2009
Accepted: August 27, 2009
Published online: December 31, 2009
The most popular view of hematopoietic cell lineage organization is that of complex reactive or adaptative systems. Leukemia contains a subpopulation of cells that display characteristics of stem cells. These cells maintain tumor growth. The properties of leukemia stem cells indicate that current conventional chemotherapy, directed against the bulk of the tumor, will not be effective. Leukemia stem cells are quiescent and do not respond to cell cycle-specific cytotoxic agents used to treat leukemia and thus contribute to treatment failure. New strategies are required that specifically target this malignant stem cell population.