Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 155–164 | Cite as

Role of Krüppel-like factors in cancer stem cells

  • Yueling Zhang
  • Jin Hao
  • Yingcheng Zheng
  • Dian Jing
  • Yu Shen
  • Jun Wang
  • Zhihe Zhao
Mini Review


Cancer stem cells (CSCs), or cancer cells with stem cell properties, are a rare population of tumor bulk and are recognized to be responsible for cancer recurrence, drug resistance, and metastasis. However, the molecular mechanisms of how to regulate the differentiation and self-renewing of CSCs are poorly understood. Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) are essential DNA-binding transcriptional regulators with diverse functions in various cellular processes, including differentiation, proliferation, inflammation, migration, and pluripotency. Recent progress has highlighted the significance of KLFs in tumor progression and CSCs. The regulatory functions of KLFs in the development of cancer and CSCs have become a burgeoning area of intense research. In this review, we summarize the current understanding and progress of the transcriptional regulation of KLFs in CSCs and discuss the functional implications of targeting CSCs by KLFs for cancer therapeutics.


Krüppel-like factors Cancer Cancer therapy Cancer stem cells 



This work was supported by grants from Science and Technology Fund of Sichuan Province no. 2011SZ0096 and National Natural Science Foundation of China nos. 31470904 and 81030034.

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any conflict of interest to declare.


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© University of Navarra 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthodontics, State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, West China Hospital of Stomatology, West China School of StomatologySichuan UniversityChengduChina

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