Author(s): Yi SY, Hao YB, Nan KJ, Fan TL
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Abstract Nowadays, cancer has been a frequent disease, and the first or second most common cause of death worldwide. Despite a better understanding of the biology of cancer cells, the therapy of most cancers has not significantly changed for the past four decades. It is because conventional chemotherapies and/or radiation therapies are usually designed to eradicate highly proliferative cells. Mounting evidence has implicated that cancer is a disease of stem cells. Cancer stem cells (CSC) are often relatively quiescent, and therefore may not be affected by therapies targeting rapidly dividing cells. Like normal stem cells (NSC) residing in a "stem cell niche" that maintains them in a stem-like state, CSC also require a special microenvironment to control their self-renewal and undifferentiated state. The "CSC niche" is likely to be the most crucial target in the treatment of cancer. In this article, we summarize the current knowledge regarding CSC and their niche microenvironments. Understanding of CSC's origin, molecular profile, and interaction with their microenvironments, this could be a paradigm shift in the treatment of cancer, away from targeting the blast cells and towards the targeting of the CSC, thus improving therapeutic outcome. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Cancer Treat Rev
and referenced in Biology and Medicine