Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Asfaha, Samuel.


The cancer stem cell hypothesis posits that cancer stem cells (CSCs) are the driving force behind tumour progression and metastasis, making them ideal therapeutic targets. Previous research identified Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 (Lgr5) as a marker of CSCs in colorectal cancer (CRC). However, it is not known whether more than one CSC population exists in CRC. Identifying and targeting CSCs in CRC is important for effective treatment of cancer patients. Here, I show that Keratin-19 (K19) labels intestinal CSCs in mouse tumours that recapitulate the early stages of CRC. Moreover, selective ablation of Lgr5 has no effect on tumour initiation or growth. These results demonstrate additional CSC populations exist besides those labeled by Lgr5, which are important for tumour initiation and growth. Consequently, these findings have important clinical implications for the development of new therapies targeting CSCs.

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