Leukemic stem cells

Haema 2017; 8(2): 130-135

by Konstantia Pavlaki, Haralampos Pontikoglou

Haemopoiesis Research Laboratory, Haematology Department, School of Medicine University of Crete, Greece

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Leukemic stem cells (LSCs) represent a subpopulation of leukemic cells that are capable of generating and perpetuating disease. In the present review, various cellular and molecular characteristics of LSCs that play a major role in their survival will be discussed, including intrinsic signaling pathways and extrinsic microenvironmental cues. Dynamic interactions between LSCs and microenvironment components resulting in the former evading chemotherapy-induced death and acquiring a drugresistant phenotype will be outlined and potential targeted therapies specifically designed to disrupt the complex interplay between the leukemic niche and LSCs will be described.