Cancer stem cells and therapeutic targets: an emerging field for cancer treatment
Recent paradigm in the field of cancer defines its origin from a small population of fast-growing cells known as cancer stem cells (CSCs), and they are mainly responsible for disease aggressiveness, drug resistance, and tumor relapse. The existence of CSCs has been proven in different types of cancer and possesses characteristic expression of a wide array of cell surface markers specific to the type of cancer. CSCs have been isolated and enriched using several surface markers in different cancer types. Self-renewal, drug resistance, and the ability to transition from epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype are the major features attributed to this fraction of mutated stem cells. The CSC hypothesis proposes that these CSCs mimic stem cells by sharing similar pathways, such as Wnt, SHH, Notch, and others. Further, the niche, which in this case is the tumor microenvironment, plays a very important role in the maintenance of CSCs. Altogether, this emerging field of research on CSCs is expected to unveil answers to the most difficult issues of one of the most dreadful diseases called cancer.
KeywordsCancer stem cells Drug resistance CSC markers Therapy targets
The authors on this article were supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (RO1 CA138791, EDRN UO1CA111294, SPORE P50CA127297, and TMEN U54CA163120). The authors acknowledge the invaluable support from Mrs. Kavita Mallya.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
- 45.Leith CP, Kopecky KJ, Godwin J, McConnell T, Slovak ML, Chen IM, et al. Acute myeloid leukemia in the elderly: assessment of multidrug resistance (MDR1) and cytogenetics distinguishes biologic subgroups with remarkably distinct responses to standard chemotherapy. A Southwest Oncology Group study. Blood. 1997;89(9):3323–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- 50.Lhommé C, Joly F, Walker JL, Lissoni AA, Nicoletto MO, Manikhas GM, et al. Phase III study of valspodar (PSC 833) combined with paclitaxel and carboplatin compared with paclitaxel and carboplatin alone in patients with stage IV or suboptimally debulked stage III epithelial ovarian cancer or primary peritoneal cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2008;26(16):2674–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 51.Ruff P, Vorobiof DA, Jordaan JP, Demetriou GS, Moodley SD, Nosworthy AL, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind phase 2 study of docetaxel compared to docetaxel plus zosuquidar (LY335979) in women with metastatic or locally recurrent breast cancer who have received one prior chemotherapy regimen. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2009;64(4):763–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 64.Vera-Ramirez L, Sanchez-Rovira P, Ramirez-Tortosa CL, Quiles JL, Ramirez-Tortosa MC, Alvarez JC, et al. Gene-expression profiles, tumor microenvironment, and cancer stem cells in breast cancer: latest advances towards an integrated approach. Cancer Treat Rev. 2010;36(6):477–84.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar