PCSC & Metastasis

Asymmetric cell division (ACD) is a DEFINING characteristic of normal stem cells. ACD has been traditionally construed as a tumor-suppressive mechanism; therefore, suppression of ACD will promote symmetric cell divisions leading to expansion of progenitor populations and subsequent tumor development. Interestingly, breast CSCs have recently shown to be able to undergo ACD and p53 inactivation leads to suppression of ACD and tumor promotion. In the past, we observed that some ABCG2+ (Patrawala et al., 2005) and CD44+ (Patrawala et al., 2006) cells seem to be able to undergo ACD. We have recently acquired evidence that primitive PCSCs can undergo ACD whereas more mature progenitor cells preferentially undergo symmetric cell division. Our goal is to elucidate the epigenetic mechanisms controlling the ACD in PCSCs.

With increasing knowledge we are gaining on the cellular heterogeneity and tumorigenic hierarchy of PCa cells, we shall not lose sight of our ultimate goal, which is to develop novel therapeutics to target the PCSCs.