Airway basal cell heterogeneity and lung squamous cell carcinoma


Basal cells are stem/progenitor cells that maintain airway homeostasis, enact repair following epithelial injury, and are a candidate cell-of-origin for lung squamous cell carcinoma. Heterogeneity of basal cells is recognized in terms of gene expression and differentiation capacity. In this Issue, Pagano and colleagues isolate a subset of immortalized basal cells that are characterized by high motility, suggesting that they might also be heterogeneous in their biophysical properties. Motility-selected cells displayed an increased ability to colonize the lung The possible implications of these findings are discussed in terms of basal cell heterogeneity, epithelial cell migration, and modeling of metastasis that occurs early in cancer evolution. .