Published online Nov 26, 2018. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v10.i11.160
Peer-review started: August 30, 2018
First decision: October 16, 2018
Revised: October 18, 2018
Accepted: October 23, 2018
Article in press: October 23, 2018
Published online: November 26, 2018
Core tip: Extensive heterogeneity in cancer cells negatively influences treatment efficacy and survival of patients. The existing molecular methods for biomarker discovery of cancer cells and cancer stem cells are often unsuited to capture the heterogeneous nature of cell populations. Recent advances in single-cell based profiling approaches allowed the detection of molecular changes in individual cancer cells. Therefore, single-cell analysis is leading to build a complete landscape of cell types within tumor cells and facilitating the study of complex molecular heterogeneity in cancer cell populations. This will improve the investigation of more specific biomarkers to identify and target cancer stem cells.