Stem cells are essential for maintenance of multiple tissues including the intestine, skin, brain and breast. Remarkably, cancers invariably arise in tissues that contain stem cells whose function is to maintain and repair tissues for the life of the animal. Self renewal, the mechanisms by which stem cells regenerate themselves, is the fundamental property by which stem cells maintain themselves. Our laboratory investigates the fundamental molecular mechanisms of self renewal. Our studies have found that stem cells can be identified by the expression of genes required for self renewal AND by the lack of expression of genes that suppress self renewal. The specific components of self renewal pathways in normal and malignant colon and mammary gland stem cells will be discussed. Stem cell pathways contribute to minimal residual disease after cancer therapy will be discussed. Finally, the application of stem cell biology to cancer therapy will be described. Approximately 4-7% of stage 2 colon cancers consist of homogeneous populations of undiffentiated CDX2- cancer cells. Stage 2 colon cancer patients are generally not thought to benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. However, stage 2 colon cancer patients with CDX 2- cancer do appear to benefit.

Citation Format: Michael F. Clarke. Solid tumor cancer stem cells: From bench to bedside [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2019; 2019 Mar 29-Apr 3; Atlanta, GA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2019;79(13 Suppl):Abstract nr SY17-02.