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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(12), 2574;

Drug Resistance Driven by Cancer Stem Cells and Their Niche

Division of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 22 November 2017 / Accepted: 24 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells)
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Drug resistance represents one of the greatest challenges in cancer treatment. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a subset of cells within the tumor with the potential for self-renewal, differentiation and tumorigenicity, are thought to be the major cause of cancer therapy failure due to their considerable chemo- and radioresistance, resulting in tumor recurrence and eventually metastasis. CSCs are situated in a specialized microenvironment termed the niche, mainly composed of fibroblasts and endothelial, mesenchymal and immune cells, which also play pivotal roles in drug resistance. These neighboring cells promote the molecular signaling pathways required for CSC maintenance and survival and also trigger endogenous drug resistance in CSCs. In addition, tumor niche components such as the extracellular matrix also physically shelter CSCs from therapeutic agents. Interestingly, CSCs contribute directly to the niche in a bilateral feedback loop manner. Here, we review the recent advances in the study of CSCs, the niche and especially their collective contribution to resistance, since increasingly studies suggest that this interaction should be considered as a target for therapeutic strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer stem cells; drug resistance; cancer niche cancer stem cells; drug resistance; cancer niche

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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Prieto-Vila, M.; Takahashi, R.-U.; Usuba, W.; Kohama, I.; Ochiya, T. Drug Resistance Driven by Cancer Stem Cells and Their Niche. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2574.

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