Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells in Tumor Progression, Metastasis, Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and DNA Repair



Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive solid malignancy with poor response to therapy and the subsequent dismal survival rate has remained a hallmark of this disease. There is evidence to indicate that pancreatic cancer is initiated and propagated by cancer stem cell (CSC)s. The CSC population is defined by its tumor initiating capacity and has been shown to be invasive or metastatic. Loss of genome stability is a hallmark of cancer with DNA repair enzymes aiding in maintenance of stability. The potential to assess the risk of cancer development lies in careful determination of one’s capacity in nurturing genome stability. DNA repair genes are over expressed in CSCs and both pancreatic CSCs and invasive cells in turn provide greater DNA damage response and repair mechanisms. Pancreatic tumor-initiating cells as well as invasive cells have a large number of genes related to DNA repair. RAD51, the key player in the recombinational repair of damaged DNA might act as a critical mediator of efficient DNA repair mechanisms of CSCs. We update here the current research results regarding CSCs in pancreatic cancer progression, metastasis and discuss the DNA repair mechanism in pancreatic CSCs.


Cancer stem cells DNA repair EMT Metastasis Pancreatic cancer RAD51 



Aldehyde dehydrogenase


Base excision repair


Cancer stem cells


CXC chemokine receptor 4


Double-strand break


Epithelial to mesenchymal transition


Epithelial cell adhesion molecule


Epithelial specific antigen


3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase


Homologous recombination


Mismatch repair


Nucleotide excision repair


Non-homologous end-joining


Poly ADP ribose polymerase


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma


Stem cells


Stromal derived factor-1


Single-strand break


Transforming growth factor beta


Zinc-finger transcription factor


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology & Laboratory MedicineMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA

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