Cancer stem cells (CSCs) known as tumorigenic cells are biologically distinct from diverse subpopulations. Cancer cell heterogeneity readily leads to development of drug resistance and tolerance to treatment. CSC hypothesis has resulted in incredible impact on the understanding and insight into tumor biology. More importantly, advances in molecular perspectives have achieved in the recent decades although many aspects of this hypothesis remain speculative and are still evolving. CSC has been considered a new cellular target for anticancer drug discovery. Along with identification of different CSC markers such as CD133, CD24, CD44, CD90 and signaling pathways such as Wnt/β-catenin, hedgehog and so on, different kinds of therapeutic approaches have been developed to work on these molecular targets, resulting in selective inhibition of CSC functions including self-renewal and differentiation. Most recent studies demonstrated that CR1 expression in colon CSC can promote the stem cell clone formation, CCR7 promotes breast CSC growth, TP53 splice can enhance the pluripotency of CSC through the positive regulation of Sox2, Oct3/4 and Nanog and other key factors, to increase the potential risk of cancer recurrence, and an exciting finding is that carbon nanomaterials may be used as a CSC sniper. Selectively targeting CSC has shown promising perspectives and may open a new venue for the treatment of cancer.
Cell Mol Med Res. 2017;1(1):2-6
Tumor initiating cell; Cancer stem cell; Biomarker; Molecular target; Cancer therapy