Published online Jan 26, 2014. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v6.i1.53
Revised: October 9, 2013
Accepted: November 2, 2013
Published online: January 26, 2014
Core tip: Primary malignant tumors of the spine are relatively rare, less than 5% of all spinal column tumors. However, these lesions are often among the most difficult to treat and encompass challenging pathologies such as chordoma and a variety of invasive sarcomas. The mechanisms of tumor recurrence after surgical intervention, as well as resistance to radiation and chemotherapy, remain a pervasive and costly problem. Recent evidence has emerged supporting the hypothesis that solid tumors contain a sub-population of cancer cells that possess characteristics normally associated with stem cells. These cancer stem cells could be targets for future therapeutics.