ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer Division , The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research , Parkville, Victoria , Australia.
The isolation and characterization of lung stem and progenitor cells represent an important step towards the understanding of lung repair after injury,lung disease pathogenesis and the identification of the target cells of transformation in lung carcinogenesis. Different approaches using prospective isolation of progenitor cells by flow cytometry or lineage-tracing experiments in mouse models of lung injury have led to the identification of distinct progenitor subpopulations in different morphological regions of the adult lung. Genetically defined mouse models of lung cancer are offering new perspectives on the cells of origin of different subtypes of lung cancer. These mouse models pave the way to further investigate human lung progenitor cells at the origin of lung cancers, as well as to define the nature of the lung cancer stem cells. It will be critical to establish the link between oncogenic driver mutations recently discovered in lung cancers, target cells of transformation and subtypes of lung cancers to enable better stratification of patients for improved therapeutic strategies.