JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Cancer stem cells

Zuoren Yu, Timothy G Pestell, Michael P Lisanti, Richard G Pestell
International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 2012, 44 (12): 2144-51
22981632
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a small subpopulation of cells within tumors with capabilities of self-renewal, differentiation, and tumorigenicity when transplanted into an animal host. A number of cell surface markers such as CD44, CD24, and CD133 are often used to identify and enrich CSCs. A regulatory network consisting of microRNAs and Wnt/β-catenin, Notch, and Hedgehog signaling pathways controls CSC properties. The clinical relevance of CSCs has been strengthened by emerging evidence, demonstrating that CSCs are resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatment and that CSCs are very likely to be the origin of cancer metastasis. CSCs are believed to be an important target for novel anti-cancer drug discovery. Herein we summarize the current understanding of CSCs, with a focus on the role of miRNA and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and discuss the clinical application of targeting CSCs for cancer treatment.

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