Next Article in Journal
Cryopreserved Human Natural Killer Cells Exhibit Potent Antitumor Efficacy against Orthotopic Pancreatic Cancer through Efficient Tumor-Homing and Cytolytic Ability (Running Title: Cryopreserved NK Cells Exhibit Antitumor Effect)
Next Article in Special Issue
The Role of Breast Cancer Stem Cells as a Prognostic Marker and a Target to Improve the Efficacy of Breast Cancer Therapy
Previous Article in Journal
Molecular Basis of Tumor Heterogeneity in Endometrial Carcinosarcoma
Previous Article in Special Issue
Taxol-Loaded MSC-Derived Exosomes Provide a Therapeutic Vehicle to Target Metastatic Breast Cancer and Other Carcinoma Cells
Article Menu
Issue 7 (July) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessReview

Targeting Cancer Stem Cells in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

School of Life Sciences, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Korea
Cell Logistics Research Center, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 965;
Received: 11 June 2019 / Revised: 4 July 2019 / Accepted: 4 July 2019 / Published: 9 July 2019
PDF [1880 KB, uploaded 11 July 2019]
  |     |  


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly aggressive form of breast cancer that lacks targeted therapy options, and patients diagnosed with TNBC have poorer outcomes than patients with other breast cancer subtypes. Emerging evidence suggests that breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs), which have tumor-initiating potential and possess self-renewal capacity, may be responsible for this poor outcome by promoting therapy resistance, metastasis, and recurrence. TNBC cells have been consistently reported to display cancer stem cell (CSC) signatures at functional, molecular, and transcriptional levels. In recent decades, CSC-targeting strategies have shown therapeutic effects on TNBC in multiple preclinical studies, and some of these strategies are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Therefore, understanding CSC biology in TNBC has the potential to guide the discovery of novel therapeutic agents in the future. In this review, we focus on the self-renewal signaling pathways (SRSPs) that are aberrantly activated in TNBC cells and discuss the specific signaling components that are involved in the tumor-initiating potential of TNBC cells. Additionally, we describe the molecular mechanisms shared by both TNBC cells and CSCs, including metabolic plasticity, which enables TNBC cells to switch between metabolic pathways according to substrate availability to meet the energetic and biosynthetic demands for rapid growth and survival under harsh conditions. We highlight CSCs as potential key regulators driving the aggressiveness of TNBC. Thus, the manipulation of CSCs in TNBC can be a targeted therapeutic strategy for TNBC in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC); breast cancer stem cell (BCSC); self-renewal signaling pathways; metabolic plasticity triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC); breast cancer stem cell (BCSC); self-renewal signaling pathways; metabolic plasticity

Graphical abstract

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).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Park, S.-Y.; Choi, J.-H.; Nam, J.-S. Targeting Cancer Stem Cells in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Cancers 2019, 11, 965.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Cancers EISSN 2072-6694 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top