IMR Press / FBE / Volume 4 / Issue 6 / DOI: 10.2741/e531

Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Review

Cancer stem cells and resistance to chemo and radio therapy

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1 Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Simmons Cancer Institute, Springfield, IL, 62794-9626

Academic Editor: Kounosuke Watabe

Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2012, 4(6), 2142–2149;
Published: 1 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis of tumor progression in breast and prostate cancer)

Cancer stem cells (CSCs, or tumor initiating cells) are responsible for tumor initiation. If cancer treatment kills most of cancer cells in the stage of transit amplifying and differentiation without killing the stem cells, the surviving CSCs will eventually lead to recurrence of tumors. Studies have suggested that CSCs may be the primary mediators of resistance to chemo- and radiotherapy, leading to failure in cancer therapy. Numerous targets are being investigated for their potential involvement in the self-renewal and chemo- and radioresistance of cancer cells. However, despite the intensive efforts invested into characterizing the role of cancer stem cells, there is a sense of uncertainty regarding the identity and number of these cells as well as the implications in cancer treatment. In this review, we will discuss the identification of CSCs by cell surface markers, the biology of CSCs, and the role of CSCs in resistance to radio- and chemo-therapy. This review will discuss the advances in targeting CSCs to improve the efficacy of chemo- and radio-therapy.

Cancer stem cells
Multidrug resistance
ATP-binding cassette transporters
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