Special Issue "Cancer Stem Cells"

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A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2010)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Albert D. Donnenberg

1 Medicine and Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Director, UPCI Cytometry Laboratory, 5150 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA
2 Laboratory Director, UPMC Hematopoietic Stem Cell Laboratory, 5117 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
3 Deputy Director, UPCI Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Hillman Cancer Center, 5117 Centre Ave., Suite 4.24c, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +1 412 6237778
Interests: functional significance of T-cell activation markers; T-cell turnover in SIV infection; role of p-gp in resistance to immunosuppressive agents; immunologic consequences of autologous transplantation in systemic sclerosis; cancer stem cell
Guest Editor
Dr. Vera Svobodova Donnenberg

Heart, Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
E-Mail
Interests: P-glycoprotein/ABC-transporters and drug interaction in T lymphocytes and beyond; tumorigenic stem cells; interaction of dormant tumor cells and regenerating tissue; MDR modulation and control by SHH pathway; lung immunology; strengths

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cancer treatment often must deal with the problem of recurrence. This leads to a question: are there specialized cells within a tumor that are relatively resistant to typical therapeutics and which possess the ability to reconstitute the malignancy? Put another way, do tumors contain “stem-like” cells with the properties of resistance and tumor reconstitution? Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been defined as “cells within a tumor that possess the capacity to self-renew and to cause heterogeneous lineages of cancer cells that comprise the tumor” (see: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/2006report/2006chapter9.htm). Putative CSCs have been identified for a variety of cancer types, and there are several theories to explain how CSCs develop and how they contribute to disease progression, including metastasis. This topic has profound implications for both the basic science of cancer biology, as well as for more applied studies of clinical and therapeutic relevance. Continued investigation of CSC biology will broaden our understanding of tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis, likely leading to novel preventive and therapeutic approaches against cancer. Therefore, we invite research and review papers in the broad field of cancer stem cells, including, but not limited to, topics relating CSCs to: cancer genetics, tumor biology, metastasis, cell signaling, diet and prevention, and pharmacological and genetic therapeutics. We look forward to your contributions.

Dr. Michael Bordonaro
Dr. Frank Pajonk
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (25 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Tetrandrine, a Compound Common in Chinese Traditional Medicine, Preferentially Kills Breast Cancer Tumor Initiating Cells (TICs) In Vitro
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2274-2285; doi:10.3390/cancers3022274
Received: 12 January 2011 / Revised: 12 April 2011 / Accepted: 15 April 2011 / Published: 4 May 2011
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tetrandrine is a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid found in Stephania tetrandra, a Chinese medicine commonly used as an anti-inflammatory. It has extensive pharmacological activity, including positive ion channel blockade and inhibition of multiple drug resistance proteins. These activities are very similar to that of
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Tetrandrine is a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid found in Stephania tetrandra, a Chinese medicine commonly used as an anti-inflammatory. It has extensive pharmacological activity, including positive ion channel blockade and inhibition of multiple drug resistance proteins. These activities are very similar to that of salinomycin, a known drug targeting breast cancer initiation cells (TICs). Herein, we tested tetrandrine targeting of breast cancer TICs. SUM-149, an inflammatory breast cancer cell line and SUM-159, a non-inflammatory metaplastic breast cancer cell line were used in these studies. In proliferation assays using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS), we found that the IC50 for inhibition of proliferation is 15.3 ± 4.1 µM for SUM-149 and 24.3 ± 2.1 µM for SUM-159 cells. Tetrandrine also inhibited mammosphere formation, a surrogate for breast cancer TICs growth in vitro with IC50 around 1 µM for SUM-149 and around 2 µM for SUM-159 cells. Tetrandrine has similar effects on the mammosphere formation from cells isolated from fresh patient sample. Moreover, tetrandrine decreases the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) positive population in SUM-159 by 45% ± 5.45% P = 0.005. In summary, tetrandrine demonstrates significant efficacy against in vitro surrogates for inflammatory and aggressive breast cancer TICs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessArticle Canine Mammary Cancer Stem Cells are Radio- and Chemo- Resistant and Exhibit an Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition Phenotype
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1744-1762; doi:10.3390/cancers3021744
Received: 11 January 2011 / Revised: 25 January 2011 / Accepted: 22 March 2011 / Published: 30 March 2011
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (788 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Canine mammary carcinoma is the most common cancer among female dogs and is often fatal due to the development of distant metastases. In humans, solid tumors are made up of heterogeneous cell populations, which perform different roles in the tumor economy. A small
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Canine mammary carcinoma is the most common cancer among female dogs and is often fatal due to the development of distant metastases. In humans, solid tumors are made up of heterogeneous cell populations, which perform different roles in the tumor economy. A small subset of tumor cells can hold or acquire stem cell characteristics, enabling them to drive tumor growth, recurrence and metastasis. In veterinary medicine, the molecular drivers of canine mammary carcinoma are as yet undefined. Here we report that putative cancer stem cells (CSCs) can be isolated form a canine mammary carcinoma cell line, REM134. We show that these cells have an increased ability to form tumorspheres, a characteristic of stem cells, and that they express embryonic stem cell markers associated with pluripotency. Moreover, canine CSCs are relatively resistant to the cytotoxic effects of common chemotherapeutic drugs and ionizing radiation, indicating that failure of clinical therapy to eradicate canine mammary cancer may be due to the survival of CSCs. The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been associated with cancer invasion, metastasis, and the acquisition of stem cell characteristics. Our results show that canine CSCs predominantly express mesenchymal markers and are more invasive than parental cells, indicating that these cells have a mesenchymal phenotype. Furthermore, we show that canine mammary cancer cells can be induced to undergo EMT by TGFβ and that these cells have an increased ability to form tumorspheres. Our findings indicate that EMT induction can enrich for cells with CSC properties, and provide further insight into canine CSC biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Overexpression of CYP3A4 in a COLO 205 Colon Cancer Stem Cell Model in vitro
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 1467-1479; doi:10.3390/cancers3011467
Received: 30 January 2011 / Revised: 9 February 2011 / Accepted: 9 February 2011 / Published: 22 March 2011
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (197 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) seem to constitute a subpopulation of tumor cells that escape from chemotherapy and cause recurrent disease. Low proliferation rates, protection in a stem cell niche and overexpression of drug resistance proteins are considered to confer chemoresistance. We established an
[...] Read more.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) seem to constitute a subpopulation of tumor cells that escape from chemotherapy and cause recurrent disease. Low proliferation rates, protection in a stem cell niche and overexpression of drug resistance proteins are considered to confer chemoresistance. We established an in vitro colon CSC-like model using the COLO 205 cell line, which revealed transiently increased expression of CD133 when transferred to serum-free stem cell culture medium. Assessment of global gene expression of COLO 205 cells under these conditions identified a set of upregulated genes including cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1), as confirmed by real-time qPCR. ALDH1A1 is a CSC marker for certain tumor entities and confers resistance to cyclophosphamide. CYP3A4 is expressed in liver and colon and its overexpression seems particularly relevant in colon cancer, since it inactivates irinotecan and other xenobiotics, such as taxols and vinca alkaloids. In conclusion, this COLO 205 model provides evidence for CD133 induction concomitant with overexpression of CYP3A4, which, together with ATP-binding cassette, subfamily G, member 2 (ABCG2) and others, may have a role in chemoresistant colon CSCs and a negative impact on disease-free survival in colon cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Epigenetics, Nervous System Tumors, and Cancer Stem Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(3), 3525-3556; doi:10.3390/cancers3033525
Received: 9 June 2011 / Revised: 1 August 2011 / Accepted: 8 September 2011 / Published: 13 September 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent advances have begun to elucidate how epigenetic regulatory mechanisms are responsible for establishing and maintaining cell identity during development and adult life and how the disruption of these processes is, not surprisingly, one of the hallmarks of cancer. In this review, we
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Recent advances have begun to elucidate how epigenetic regulatory mechanisms are responsible for establishing and maintaining cell identity during development and adult life and how the disruption of these processes is, not surprisingly, one of the hallmarks of cancer. In this review, we describe the major epigenetic mechanisms (i.e., DNA methylation, histone and chromatin modification, non-coding RNA deployment, RNA editing, and nuclear reorganization) and discuss the broad spectrum of epigenetic alterations that have been uncovered in pediatric and adult nervous system tumors. We also highlight emerging evidence that suggests epigenetic deregulation is a characteristic feature of so-called cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are thought to be present in a range of nervous system tumors and responsible for tumor maintenance, progression, treatment resistance, and recurrence. We believe that better understanding how epigenetic mechanisms operate in neural cells and identifying the etiologies and consequences of epigenetic deregulation in tumor cells and CSCs, in particular, are likely to promote the development of enhanced molecular diagnostics and more targeted and effective therapeutic agents for treating recalcitrant nervous system tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Therapeutic Approaches to Target Cancer Stem Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(3), 3331-3352; doi:10.3390/cancers3033331
Received: 8 May 2011 / Revised: 27 July 2011 / Accepted: 7 August 2011 / Published: 15 August 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (193 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The clinical relevance of cancer stem cells (CSC) remains a major challenge for current cancer therapies, but preliminary findings indicate that specific targeting may be possible. Recent studies have shown that these tumor subpopulations promote tumor angiogenesis through the increased production of VEGF,
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The clinical relevance of cancer stem cells (CSC) remains a major challenge for current cancer therapies, but preliminary findings indicate that specific targeting may be possible. Recent studies have shown that these tumor subpopulations promote tumor angiogenesis through the increased production of VEGF, whereas the VEGF neutralizing antibody bevacizumab specifically inhibits CSC growth. Moreover, nimotuzumab, a monoclonal antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) with a potent antiangiogenic activity, has been shown by our group to reduce the frequency of CSC-like subpopulations in mouse models of brain tumors when combined with ionizing radiation. These studies and subsequent reports from other groups support the relevance of approaches based on molecular-targeted therapies to selectively attack CSC. This review discusses the relevance of targeting both the EGFR and angiogenic pathways as valid approaches to this aim. We discuss the relevance of identifying better molecular markers to develop drug screening strategies that selectively target CSC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Clinical Trial Design for Testing the Stem Cell Model for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2696-2708; doi:10.3390/cancers3022696
Received: 27 April 2011 / Revised: 7 June 2011 / Accepted: 8 June 2011 / Published: 20 June 2011
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (179 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cancer stem cell model introduces new strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancers. In cancers that appear to follow the stem cell model, pathways such as Wnt, Notch and Hedgehog may be targeted with natural compounds such as curcumin or drugs
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The cancer stem cell model introduces new strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancers. In cancers that appear to follow the stem cell model, pathways such as Wnt, Notch and Hedgehog may be targeted with natural compounds such as curcumin or drugs to reduce the risk of initiation of new tumors. Disease progression of established tumors could also potentially be inhibited by targeting the tumorigenic stem cells alone, rather than aiming to reduce overall tumor size. These new approaches mandate a change in the design of clinical trials and biomarkers chosen for efficacy assessment for preventative, neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and palliative treatments. Cancer treatments could be evaluated by assessing stem cell markers before and after treatment. Targeted stem cell specific treatment of cancers may not result in “complete” or “partial” responses radiologically, as stem cell targeting may not reduce the tumor bulk, but eliminate further tumorigenic potential. These changes are discussed using breast, pancreatic, and lung cancer as examples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Glioblastoma Stem-Like Cells—Biology and Therapeutic Implications
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2655-2666; doi:10.3390/cancers3022655
Received: 4 March 2011 / Revised: 4 May 2011 / Accepted: 31 May 2011 / Published: 10 June 2011
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (357 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cancer stem-cell hypothesis proposes that malignant tumors are likely to encompass a cellular hierarchy that parallels normal tissue and may be responsible for the maintenance and recurrence of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in patients. The purpose of this manuscript is to review methods
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The cancer stem-cell hypothesis proposes that malignant tumors are likely to encompass a cellular hierarchy that parallels normal tissue and may be responsible for the maintenance and recurrence of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in patients. The purpose of this manuscript is to review methods for optimizing the derivation and culturing of stem-like cells also known as tumor stem cells (TSCs) from patient-derived GBM tissue samples. The hallmarks of TSCs are that they must be able to self-renew and retain tumorigenicity. The isolation, optimization and derivation of TSCs as outlined in this review, will be important in understanding biology and therapeutic applications related to these cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview X Inactivation and Progenitor Cancer Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2169-2175; doi:10.3390/cancers3022169
Received: 11 February 2011 / Revised: 16 March 2011 / Accepted: 12 April 2011 / Published: 26 April 2011
PDF Full-text (133 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In mammals, silencing of one of the two X chromosomes is necessary to achieve dosage compensation. The 17 kb non-coding RNA called Xist triggers X inactivation. Gene silencing by Xist can only be achieved in certain contexts such as in cells of the
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In mammals, silencing of one of the two X chromosomes is necessary to achieve dosage compensation. The 17 kb non-coding RNA called Xist triggers X inactivation. Gene silencing by Xist can only be achieved in certain contexts such as in cells of the early embryo and in certain hematopoietic progenitors where silencing factors are present. Moreover, these epigenetic contexts are maintained in cancer progenitors in which SATB1 has been identified as a factor related to Xist-mediated chromosome silencing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Wnt/β-catenin Signaling in Normal and Cancer Stem Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 2050-2079; doi:10.3390/cancers3022050
Received: 3 March 2011 / Revised: 12 April 2011 / Accepted: 13 April 2011 / Published: 19 April 2011
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (719 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ability of Wnt ligands to initiate a signaling cascade that results in cytoplasmic stabilization of, and nuclear localization of, β-catenin underlies their ability to regulate progenitor cell differentiation. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying Wnt/β-catenin
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The ability of Wnt ligands to initiate a signaling cascade that results in cytoplasmic stabilization of, and nuclear localization of, β-catenin underlies their ability to regulate progenitor cell differentiation. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying Wnt/β-catenin signaling and how the pathway regulates normal differentiation of stem cells in the intestine, mammary gland, and prostate. We will also discuss how dysregulation of the pathway is associated with putative cancer stem cells and the potential therapeutic implications of regulating Wnt signaling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Essential Gene Pathways for Glioblastoma Stem Cells: Clinical Implications for Prevention of Tumor Recurrence
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1975-1995; doi:10.3390/cancers3021975
Received: 5 February 2011 / Revised: 19 February 2011 / Accepted: 22 March 2011 / Published: 18 April 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1548 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Glioblastoma (World Health Organization/WHO grade IV) is the most common and most aggressive adult glial tumor. Patients with glioblastoma, despite being treated with gross total resection and post-operative radiation/chemotherapy, will almost always develop tumor recurrence. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSC), a minor subpopulation within
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Glioblastoma (World Health Organization/WHO grade IV) is the most common and most aggressive adult glial tumor. Patients with glioblastoma, despite being treated with gross total resection and post-operative radiation/chemotherapy, will almost always develop tumor recurrence. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSC), a minor subpopulation within the tumor mass, have been recently characterized as tumor-initiating cells and hypothesized to be responsible for post-treatment recurrence because of their enhanced radio-/chemo-resistant phenotype and ability to reconstitute tumors in mouse brains. Genome-wide expression profile analysis uncovered molecular properties of GSC distinct from their differentiated, proliferative progeny that comprise the majority of the tumor mass. In contrast to the hyperproliferative and hyperangiogenic phenotype of glioblastoma tumors, GSC possess neuroectodermal properties and express genes associated with neural stem cells, radial glial cells, and neural crest cells, as well as portray a migratory, quiescent, and undifferentiated phenotype. Thus, cell cycle-targeted radio-chemotherapy, which aims to kill fast-growing tumor cells, may not completely eliminate glioblastoma tumors. To prevent tumor recurrence, a strategy targeting essential gene pathways of GSC must be identified and incorporated into the standard treatment regimen. Identifying intrinsic and extrinsic cues by which GSC maintain stemness properties and sustain both tumorigenesis and anti-apoptotic features may provide new insights into potentially curative strategies for treating brain cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Colon Cancer Stem Cells: Bench-to-Bedside—New Therapeutical Approaches in Clinical Oncology for Disease Breakdown
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1957-1974; doi:10.3390/cancers3021957
Received: 15 December 2010 / Revised: 11 April 2011 / Accepted: 12 April 2011 / Published: 13 April 2011
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is widely accepted by the scientific community that cancer, including colon cancer, is a “stem cell disease”. Until a few years ago, common opinion was that all neoplastic cells within a tumor contained tumorigenic growth capacity, but recent evidences hint to the
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It is widely accepted by the scientific community that cancer, including colon cancer, is a “stem cell disease”. Until a few years ago, common opinion was that all neoplastic cells within a tumor contained tumorigenic growth capacity, but recent evidences hint to the possibility that such a feature is confined to a small subset of cancer-initiating cells, also called cancer stem cells (CSCs). Thus, malignant tumors are organized in a hierarchical fashion in which CSCs give rise to more differentiated tumor cells. CSCs possess high levels of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters and anti-apoptotic molecules, active DNA-repair, slow replication capacities and they produce growth factors that confer refractoriness to antineoplastic treatments. The inefficacy of conventional therapies towards the stem cell population might explain cancer chemoresistance and the high frequency of relapse shown by the majority of tumors. Nowadays, in fact all the therapies available are not sufficient to cure patients with advanced forms of colon cancer since they target differentiated cancer cells which constitute most of the tumor mass and spare CSCs. Since CSCs are the entities responsible for the development of the tumor and represent the only cell population able to sustain tumor growth and progression, these cells represent the elective target for innovative therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Brain Cancer Stem Cells: Current Status on Glioblastoma Multiforme
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1777-1797; doi:10.3390/cancers3021777
Received: 22 February 2011 / Revised: 3 March 2011 / Accepted: 22 March 2011 / Published: 30 March 2011
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (540 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive brain tumor of astrocytic/neural stem cell origin, represents one of the most incurable cancers. GBM tumors are highly heterogeneous. However, most tumors contain a subpopulation of cells that display neural stem cell characteristics in vitro and that can
[...] Read more.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive brain tumor of astrocytic/neural stem cell origin, represents one of the most incurable cancers. GBM tumors are highly heterogeneous. However, most tumors contain a subpopulation of cells that display neural stem cell characteristics in vitro and that can generate a new brain tumor upon transplantation in mice. Hence, previously identified molecular pathways regulating neural stem cell biology were found to represent the cornerstone of GBM stem cell self-renewal mechanism. GBM tumors are also notorious for their resistance to radiation therapy. Notably, GBM “cancer stem cells” were also found to be responsible for this radioresistance. Herein, we will analyze the data supporting or not the cancer stem cell model in GBM, overview the current knowledge regarding GBM stem cell self-renewal and radioresistance molecular mechanisms, and discuss the potential therapeutic application of these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Cancer Stem Cells of Differentiated B-Cell Malignancies: Models and Consequences
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1566-1579; doi:10.3390/cancers3021566
Received: 18 February 2011 / Revised: 21 March 2011 / Accepted: 21 March 2011 / Published: 25 March 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (604 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of cancer stem cells has revolutionized our current vision of cancer development and was validated in solid tumors and cancers of the primitive hematopoietic compartment. Proof of the principle is still lacking, however, in malignancies of differentiated B-cells. We review here
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The concept of cancer stem cells has revolutionized our current vision of cancer development and was validated in solid tumors and cancers of the primitive hematopoietic compartment. Proof of the principle is still lacking, however, in malignancies of differentiated B-cells. We review here the current literature, which nevertheless suggests hierarchical organizations of the tumor clone for mostly incurable B-cell cancers such as multiple myeloma, lymphomas and B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia. We propose two models accounting for cancer stem cells in these contexts: a “top-to-bottom” clonal hierarchy from memory B-cells and a “bottom-to-top” model of clonal reprogramming. Selection pressure on the growing tumor can drive such reprogramming and increase its genetic diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Breast Cancer-Initiating Cells: Insights into Novel Treatment Strategies
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 1405-1425; doi:10.3390/cancers3011405
Received: 14 January 2011 / Revised: 17 February 2011 / Accepted: 2 March 2011 / Published: 16 March 2011
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (218 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is accumulating evidence that breast cancer may arise from mutated mammary stem/progenitor cells which have been termed breast cancer-initiating cells (BCIC). BCIC identified in clinical specimens based on membrane phenotype (CD44+/CD24/low and/or CD133+ expression) or enzymatic activity
[...] Read more.
There is accumulating evidence that breast cancer may arise from mutated mammary stem/progenitor cells which have been termed breast cancer-initiating cells (BCIC). BCIC identified in clinical specimens based on membrane phenotype (CD44+/CD24/low and/or CD133+ expression) or enzymatic activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1+), have been demonstrated to have stem/progenitor cell properties, and are tumorigenic when injected in immunocompromized mice at very low concentrations. BCIC have also been isolated and in vitro propagated as non-adherent spheres of undifferentiated cells, and stem cell patterns have been recognized even in cancer cell lines. Recent findings indicate that aberrant regulation of self renewal is central to cancer stem cell biology. Alterations in genes involved in self-renewal pathways, such as Wnt, Notch, sonic hedgehog, PTEN and BMI, proved to play a role in breast cancer progression. Hence, targeting key elements mediating the self renewal of BCIC represents an attractive option, with a solid rationale, clearly identifiable molecular targets, and adequate knowledge of the involved pathways. Possible concerns are related to the poor knowledge of tolerance and efficacy of inhibiting self-renewal mechanisms, because the latter are key pathways for a variety of biological functions and it is unknown whether their interference would kill BCIC or simply temporarily stop them. Thus, efforts to develop BCIC-targeted therapies should not only be focused on interfering on self-renewal, but could seek to identify additional molecular targets, like those involved in regulating EMT-related pathways, in reversing the MDR phenotype, in inducing differentiation and controlling cell survival pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Cancer Stem Cells in Breast Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 1311-1328; doi:10.3390/cancers3011311
Received: 17 February 2011 / Revised: 3 March 2011 / Accepted: 11 March 2011 / Published: 15 March 2011
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (381 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cancer stem cell (CSC) theory is generally acknowledged as an important field of cancer research, not only as an academic matter but also as a crucial aspect of clinical practice. CSCs share a variety of biological properties with normal somatic stem cells
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The cancer stem cell (CSC) theory is generally acknowledged as an important field of cancer research, not only as an academic matter but also as a crucial aspect of clinical practice. CSCs share a variety of biological properties with normal somatic stem cells in self-renewal, the propagation of differentiated progeny, the expression of specific cell markers and stem cell genes, and the utilization of common signaling pathways and the stem cell niche. However, CSCs differ from normal stem cells in their chemoresistance and their tumorigenic and metastatic activities. In this review, we focus on recent reports regarding the identification of CSC markers and the molecular mechanism of CSC phenotypes to understand the basic properties and molecular target of CSCs. In addition, we especially focus on the CSCs of breast cancer since the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy can lead to the enrichment of CSCs in patients with that disease. The identification of CSC markers and an improved understanding of the molecular mechanism of CSC phenotypes should lead to progress in cancer therapy and improved prognoses for patients with cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Cancer Stem Cell Radioresistance and Enrichment: Where Frontline Radiation Therapy May Fail in Lung and Esophageal Cancers
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 1232-1252; doi:10.3390/cancers3011232
Received: 7 December 2010 / Revised: 25 January 2011 / Accepted: 24 February 2011 / Published: 10 March 2011
Cited by 29 | PDF Full-text (1331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many studies have highlighted the role cancer stem cells (CSC) play in the development and progression of various types of cancer including lung and esophageal cancer. More recently, it has been proposed that the presence of CSCs affects treatment efficacy and patient prognosis.
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Many studies have highlighted the role cancer stem cells (CSC) play in the development and progression of various types of cancer including lung and esophageal cancer. More recently, it has been proposed that the presence of CSCs affects treatment efficacy and patient prognosis. In reviewing this new area of cancer biology, we will give an overview of the current literature regarding lung and esophageal CSCs and radioresistance of CSC, and discuss the potential therapeutic applications of these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Retrotransposon-Encoded Reverse Transcriptase in the Genesis, Progression and Cellular Plasticity of Human Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 1141-1157; doi:10.3390/cancers3011141
Received: 11 January 2011 / Revised: 21 February 2011 / Accepted: 22 February 2011 / Published: 7 March 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
LINE-1 (Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements) and HERVs (Human Endogenous Retroviruses) are two families of autonomously replicating retrotransposons that together account for about 28% of the human genome. Genes harbored within LINE-1 and HERV retrotransposons, particularly those encoding the reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme, are
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LINE-1 (Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements) and HERVs (Human Endogenous Retroviruses) are two families of autonomously replicating retrotransposons that together account for about 28% of the human genome. Genes harbored within LINE-1 and HERV retrotransposons, particularly those encoding the reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme, are generally expressed at low levels in differentiated cells, but their expression is upregulated in transformed cells and embryonic tissues. Here we discuss a recently discovered RT-dependent mechanism that operates in tumorigenesis and reversibly modulates phenotypic and functional variations associated with tumor progression. Downregulation of active LINE-1 elements drastically reduces the tumorigenic potential of cancer cells, paralleled by reduced proliferation and increased differentiation. Pharmacological RT inhibitors (e.g., nevirapine and efavirenz) exert similar effects on tumorigenic cell lines, both in culture and in animal models. The HERV-K family play a distinct complementary role in stress-dependent transition of melanoma cells from an adherent, non-aggressive, to a non-adherent, highly malignant, growth phenotype. In synthesis, the retrotransposon-encoded RT is increasingly emerging as a key regulator of tumor progression and a promising target in a novel anti-cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Drug Treatment of Cancer Cell Lines: A Way to Select for Cancer Stem Cells?
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 1111-1128; doi:10.3390/cancers3011111
Received: 4 January 2011 / Revised: 31 January 2011 / Accepted: 24 February 2011 / Published: 4 March 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (138 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tumors are generally composed of different cell types. In recent years, it has been shown that in many types of cancers a subset of cells show peculiar characteristics, such as the ability to induce tumors when engrafted into host animals, self-renew and being
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Tumors are generally composed of different cell types. In recent years, it has been shown that in many types of cancers a subset of cells show peculiar characteristics, such as the ability to induce tumors when engrafted into host animals, self-renew and being immortal, and give rise to a differentiated progeny. These cells have been defined as cancer stem cells (CSCs) or tumor initiating cells. CSCs can be isolated both from tumor specimens and established cancer cell lines on the basis of their ability to exclude fluorescent dyes, express specific cell surface markers or grow in particular culture conditions. A key feature of CSCs is their resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, which could contribute to the remaining of residual cancer cells after therapeutic treatments. It has been shown that CSC-like cells can be isolated after drug treatment of cancer cell lines; in this review, we will describe the strategies so far applied to identify and isolate CSCs. Furthermore, we will discuss the possible use of these selected populations to investigate CSC biology and develop new anticancer drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
Open AccessReview Cancer Stem Cells and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)-Phenotypic Cells: Are They Cousins or Twins?
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 716-729; doi:10.3390/cancers30100716
Received: 8 December 2010 / Revised: 11 February 2011 / Accepted: 12 February 2011 / Published: 21 February 2011
Cited by 142 | PDF Full-text (377 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are cells within a tumor that possess the capacity to self-renew and maintain tumor-initiating capacity through differentiation into the heterogeneous lineages of cancer cells that comprise the whole tumor. These tumor-initiating cells could provide a resource for cells that
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Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are cells within a tumor that possess the capacity to self-renew and maintain tumor-initiating capacity through differentiation into the heterogeneous lineages of cancer cells that comprise the whole tumor. These tumor-initiating cells could provide a resource for cells that cause tumor recurrence after therapy. Although the cell origin of CSCs remains to be fully elucidated, mounting evidence has demonstrated that Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), induced by different factors, is associated with tumor aggressiveness and metastasis and these cells share molecular characteristics with CSCs, and thus are often called cancer stem-like cells or tumor-initiating cells. The acquisition of an EMT phenotype is a critical process for switching early stage carcinomas into invasive malignancies, which is often associated with the loss of epithelial differentiation and gain of mesenchymal phenotype. Recent studies have demonstrated that EMT plays a critical role not only in tumor metastasis but also in tumor recurrence and that it is tightly linked with the biology of cancer stem-like cells or cancer-initiating cells. Here we will succinctly summarize the state-of-our-knowledge regarding the molecular similarities between cancer stem-like cells or CSCs and EMT-phenotypic cells that are associated with tumor aggressiveness focusing on solid tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Treatment Resistance Mechanisms of Malignant Glioma Tumor Stem Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 621-635; doi:10.3390/cancers3010621
Received: 22 November 2010 / Revised: 14 December 2010 / Accepted: 26 January 2011 / Published: 10 February 2011
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Malignant gliomas are highly lethal because of their resistance to conventional treatments. Recent evidence suggests that a minor subpopulation of cells with stem cell properties reside within these tumors. These tumor stem cells are more resistant to radiation and chemotherapies than their counterpart
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Malignant gliomas are highly lethal because of their resistance to conventional treatments. Recent evidence suggests that a minor subpopulation of cells with stem cell properties reside within these tumors. These tumor stem cells are more resistant to radiation and chemotherapies than their counterpart differentiated tumor cells and may underlie the persistence and recurrence of tumors following treatment. The various mechanisms by which tumor stem cells avoid or repair the damaging effects of cancer therapies are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Cancer Stem Cells in Head and Neck Cancer
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 415-427; doi:10.3390/cancers3010415
Received: 2 December 2010 / Revised: 24 December 2010 / Accepted: 14 January 2011 / Published: 20 January 2011
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (199 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Head and neck cancer (HNC) is the sixth most common malignancy world-wide, however the survival rate has not improved for the past 20 years. In recent years, the cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis has gained ground in several malignancies and there is mounting
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Head and neck cancer (HNC) is the sixth most common malignancy world-wide, however the survival rate has not improved for the past 20 years. In recent years, the cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis has gained ground in several malignancies and there is mounting evidence suggesting CSCs mediate tumor resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, the CSC theory is also challenged at least in certain types of cancer. Here we review the progress of CSC studies in HNC, which suggest that HNC conforms to the CSC model. The identified CSC markers and their tumor initiation properties provide a framework for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for HNC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Enteric Bacteria and Cancer Stem Cells
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 285-297; doi:10.3390/cancers3010285
Received: 17 November 2010 / Revised: 24 December 2010 / Accepted: 10 January 2011 / Published: 14 January 2011
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (459 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Intestinal bacteria can contribute to cell proliferation and cancer development, particularly in chronic infectious diseases in which bacteria and/orbacterial components might interfere with cell function. The number of microbial cells within the gut lumen is estimated to be 100 trillion, which is
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Intestinal bacteria can contribute to cell proliferation and cancer development, particularly in chronic infectious diseases in which bacteria and/or bacterial components might interfere with cell function. The number of microbial cells within the gut lumen is estimated to be 100 trillion, which is about 10-times larger than the number of eukaryotic cells in the human body. Because of the complexity of the gut flora, identifying the specific microbial agents related to human diseases remains challenging. Recent studies have demonstrated that the stemness of colon cancer cells is, in part, orchestrated by the microenvironment and is defined by high Wnt activity. In this review article, we will discuss recent progress with respect to intestinal stem cells, cancer stem cells, and the molecular mechanisms of enteric bacteria in the activation of the Wnt pathway. We will also discuss the roles of other pathways, including JAK-STAT, JNK, and Notch, in regulating stem cell niches during bacterial infections using Drosophila models. Insights gained from understanding how host-bacterial interaction during inflammation and cancer may serve as a paradigm for understanding the nature of self-renewal signals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview Cancer Stem Cells and Pediatric Solid Tumors
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 298-318; doi:10.3390/cancers3010298
Received: 8 December 2011 / Revised: 11 January 2011 / Accepted: 13 January 2011 / Published: 14 January 2011
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (422 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, a subpopulation of cells, termed tumor-initiating cells or tumor stem cells (TSC), has been identified in many different types of solid tumors. These TSC, which are typically more resistant to chemotherapy and radiation compared to other tumor cells, have properties similar to
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Recently, a subpopulation of cells, termed tumor-initiating cells or tumor stem cells (TSC), has been identified in many different types of solid tumors. These TSC, which are typically more resistant to chemotherapy and radiation compared to other tumor cells, have properties similar to normal stem cells including multipotency and the ability to self-renew, proliferate, and maintain the neoplastic clone. Much of the research on TSC has focused on adult cancers. With considerable differences in tumor biology between adult and pediatric cancers, there may be significant differences in the presence, function and behavior of TSC in pediatric malignancies. We discuss what is currently known about pediatric solid TSC with specific focus on TSC markers, tumor microenvironment, signaling pathways, therapeutic resistance and potential future therapies to target pediatric TSC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview The Role of Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells in Metastatic Disease and Therapeutic Response
Cancers 2011, 3(1), 319-339; doi:10.3390/cancers3010319
Received: 1 December 2010 / Revised: 17 December 2010 / Accepted: 10 January 2011 / Published: 14 January 2011
Cited by 35 | PDF Full-text (333 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer related mortality in the United States. The intricate molecular mechanisms involved in the regenerative process of the normal intestine and the identity of putative somatic intestinal stem cells have become clear. In parallel with this,
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Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer related mortality in the United States. The intricate molecular mechanisms involved in the regenerative process of the normal intestine and the identity of putative somatic intestinal stem cells have become clear. In parallel with this, experiment evidence has emerged supporting the century old hypothesis that solid tumor initiation, progression, chemoresistance and recurrence is the result of a small population of cancer cells with self-renewal and pluripotency capabilities. These “cancer stem cells” (CSCs) present a unique opportunity to better understand the biology of solid tumors in general, as well as targets for future therapeutics. In this review, we will summarize the current understanding of intestinal stem cell biology and translate it to colorectal CSCs to provide a basis for understanding chemoresistance, cancer recurrence and metastasis. A more complete understanding of the biology of colorectal CSCs will translate into the development of better chemotherapeutic and biological agents for the treatment of colorectal cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Open AccessReview The Emerging Role of the Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase/ Akt/Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Signaling Network in Cancer Stem Cell Biology
Cancers 2010, 2(3), 1576-1596; doi:10.3390/cancers2031576
Received: 23 July 2010 / Accepted: 16 August 2010 / Published: 18 August 2010
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (293 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cancer stem cell theory entails the existence of a hierarchically organized, rare population of cells which are responsible for tumor initiation, self-renewal/maintenance, and mutation accumulation. The cancer stem cell proposition could explain the high frequency of cancer relapse and resistance to currently
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The cancer stem cell theory entails the existence of a hierarchically organized, rare population of cells which are responsible for tumor initiation, self-renewal/maintenance, and mutation accumulation. The cancer stem cell proposition could explain the high frequency of cancer relapse and resistance to currently available therapies. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway regulates a wide array of physiological cell functions which include differentiation, proliferation, survival, metabolism, autophagy, and motility. Dysregulated PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling has been documented in many types of neoplasias. It is now emerging that this signaling network plays a key role in cancer stem cell biology. Interestingly, cancer stem cells displayed preferential sensitivity to pathway inhibition when compared to healthy stem cells. This observation provides the proof-of-principle that functional differences in signaling pathways between neoplastic stem cells and healthy stem cells could be identified. In this review, we present the evidence which links the signals emanating from the PI3K/Akt/mTOR cascade with the functions of cancer stem cells, both in solid and hematological tumors. We then highlight how targeting PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling with small molecules could improve cancer patient outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)

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