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Cells 2019, 8(2), 132;

Cell Fusion in Human Cancer: The Dark Matter Hypothesis

Chair of Immunology, Center for Biomedical Education and Research (ZBAF), Witten/Herdecke University, Stockumer Str. 10, 58448 Witten, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 4 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor-Cell Fusion—The Dark Matter Phenomenon)
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Current strategies to determine tumor × normal (TN)-hybrid cells among human cancer cells include the detection of hematopoietic markers and other mesodermal markers on tumor cells or the presence of donor DNA in cancer samples from patients who had previously received an allogenic bone marrow transplant. By doing so, several studies have demonstrated that TN-hybrid cells could be found in human cancers. However, a prerequisite of this cell fusion search strategy is that such markers are stably expressed by TN-hybrid cells over time. However, cell fusion is a potent inducer of genomic instability, and TN-hybrid cells may lose these cell fusion markers, thereby becoming indistinguishable from nonfused tumor cells. In addition, hybrid cells can evolve from homotypic fusion events between tumor cells or from heterotypic fusion events between tumor cells and normal cells possessing similar markers, which would also be indistinguishable from nonfused tumor cells. Such indistinguishable or invisible hybrid cells will be referred to as dark matter hybrids, which cannot as yet be detected and quantified, but which contribute to tumor growth and progression. View Full-Text
Keywords: cell fusion; cancer; metastasis; dark matter cell fusion; cancer; metastasis; dark matter

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Weiler, J.; Dittmar, T. Cell Fusion in Human Cancer: The Dark Matter Hypothesis. Cells 2019, 8, 132.

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