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 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.
Keywords: cancer stem cell; colorectal cancer (CRC); CD133; differentiation
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Di Franco, S.; Mancuso, P.; Benfante, A.; Spina, M.; Iovino, F.; Dieli, F.; Stassi, G.; Todaro, M. Colon Cancer Stem Cells: Bench-to-Bedside—New Therapeutical Approaches in Clinical Oncology for Disease Breakdown. Cancers 2011, 3, 1957-1974.
Di Franco S, Mancuso P, Benfante A, Spina M, Iovino F, Dieli F, Stassi G, Todaro M. Colon Cancer Stem Cells: Bench-to-Bedside—New Therapeutical Approaches in Clinical Oncology for Disease Breakdown. Cancers. 2011; 3(2):1957-1974.
Di Franco, Simone; Mancuso, Pietro; Benfante, Antonina; Spina, Marisa; Iovino, Flora; Dieli, Francesco; Stassi, Giorgio; Todaro, Matilde. 2011. "Colon Cancer Stem Cells: Bench-to-Bedside—New Therapeutical Approaches in Clinical Oncology for Disease Breakdown." Cancers 3, no. 2: 1957-1974.