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Abstract

Despite the success of treating childhood cancers with cytotoxic agents, novel therapeutic strategies are required to achieve the next leap in cure rates. A promising avenue may be to target the origin of childhood cancers. Here, we review recent advances in tracing the origins of pediatric tumors. Cancer-to-normal cell comparisons by single-cell mRNA sequencing reveal the fetal state of cancer cells, as well as their cell of origin. Recent phylogenetic analyses have uncovered large tissue-resident precursor clones to childhood cancers, which already possess key genomic alterations leading to tumor formation. Both the transcriptional fetalness and genomic status of the premalignant tissue bed provide further avenues for targeted therapy. Overall, these advances begin to describe the precise origins of pediatric tumors and pave the way for novel methods in detecting, treating, and perhaps even preventing childhood cancers.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-cancerbio-070620-091632
2022-04-11
2024-04-18
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