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Apoptosis and DNA Methylation
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1929-1946; doi:10.3390/cancers3021929
Review

Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells and Cell Death

1,†
,
1,2,†, 1,†
,
1
,
3
,
1,2,*  and 1
1 Department of Surgical and Oncological Sciences, University of Palermo, Via Liborio Giuffrè 5, 90127 Palermo (PA), Italy 2 Department of Cellular and Molecular Oncology, IRCCS Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Via Salvatore Maugeri, 27100 Pavia (PV), Italy 3 Department of Biopathology and Medicine Biotechnologies, University of Palermo, Via Liborio Giuffrè 5, 90127 Palermo (PA), Italy These authors contribute equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 December 2010 / Revised: 21 March 2011 / Accepted: 6 April 2011 / Published: 11 April 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death and Cancer)
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Abstract

Nowadays it is reported that, similarly to other solid tumors, colorectal cancer is sustained by a rare subset of cancer stem–like cells (CSCs), which survive conventional anticancer treatments, thanks to efficient mechanisms allowing escape from apoptosis, triggering tumor recurrence. To improve patient outcomes, conventional anticancer therapies have to be replaced with specific approaches targeting CSCs. In this review we provide strong support that BMP4 is an innovative therapeutic approach to prevent colon cancer growth increasing differentiation markers expression and apoptosis. Recent data suggest that in colorectal CSCs, protection from apoptosis is achieved by interleukin-4 (IL-4) autocrine production through upregulation of antiapoptotic mediators, including survivin. Consequently, IL-4 neutralization could deregulate survivin expression and localization inducing chemosensitivity of the colon CSCs pool.
Keywords: cancer stem cells; apoptosis; BMP4; survivin cancer stem cells; apoptosis; BMP4; survivin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Catalano, V.; Gaggianesi, M.; Spina, V.; Iovino, F.; Dieli, F.; Stassi, G.; Todaro, M. Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells and Cell Death. Cancers 2011, 3, 1929-1946.

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