The discovery of progenitor cells responsible for tissue regeneration within the respiratory system has changed our understanding of the pathogenesis of lung cancer, suggesting that accumulating genetic or epigenetic insults exerted by carcinogenic stimuli are part of a multistep tumorigenic process insisting primarily on the regenerative stem cell compartment. In parallel to other solid tumors, the characterization of a lung cancer stem cell (CSC) population has reinforced the hypothesis that the progression of lung cancer, its peculiar resistance to systemic and radiation therapy, and tendency to relapse following definitive treatment are suggestive of inadequate clearance of the CSC subpopulation, which can self-maintain and replicate the full tumor bulk.

Given its primary ranking in cancer-related mortality in both the United States and Europe, lung cancer is perceived ...

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