Dedifferentiation and reprogramming: Origins of cancer stem cells

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Regenerative medicine aims to replace the lost or damaged cells in the human body through a new source of healthy transplanted cells or by endogenous repair. Although human embryonic stem cells were first thought to be the ideal source for cell therapy and tissue repair in humans, the discovery by Yamanaka and colleagues revolutionized the field. Almost any differentiated cell can be sent back in time to a pluripotency state by expressing the appropriate transcription factors. The process of somatic reprogramming using Yamanaka factors, many of which are oncogenes, offers a glimpse into how cancer stem cells may originate. In this review we discuss the similarities between tumor dedifferentiation and somatic cell reprogramming and how this may pose a risk to the application of this new technology in regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-253
Number of pages10
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer stem cells
  • dedifferentiation
  • somatic reprogramming
  • tumor plasticity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Dedifferentiation and reprogramming: Origins of cancer stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this