Human breast cancers are heterogeneous, both in their pathology and in their molecular profiles. This suggests the hypothesis that breast cancers can initiate in different cell types, either breast epithelial stem cells or their progeny (transit amplifying cells or committed differentiated cells). In this respect, breast cancer could be viewed as being similar to haematological malignancies for which an analogous model has been proposed. Drawing such parallels might help to unravel the molecular nature of the initiating events in breast cancer and might have substantial clinical implications.
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