The unique abilities of human pluripotent stem cells to self-renew and to differentiate into cells of the three germ layers make them an invaluable tool for the future of regenerative medicine. However, the same properties also make them tumorigenic, and therefore hinder their clinical application. Hence, the tumorigenicity of human embryonic stem cells (HESCs) has been extensively studied. Until recently, it was assumed that human induced pluripotent stem cells (HiPSCs) would behave like their embryonic counterparts in respect to their tumorigenicity. However, a rapidly accumulating body of evidence suggests that there are important genetic and epigenetic differences between these two cell types, which seem to influence their tumorigenicity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Studies by the authors, described in this Review, have been partially supported by funds from the Morasha-ISF (Grant No. 943/09) and Center of Excellence: The Legacy Heritage Fund Program of The Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 1801/10). The authors would like to thank E. Meshorer and D. Ronen for critically reading the manuscript, and T. Golan-Lev for her assistance with the figures.