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Apoptosis and DNA Methylation
Open AccessReview

Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells and Cell Death

Department of Surgical and Oncological Sciences, University of Palermo, Via Liborio Giuffrè 5, 90127 Palermo (PA), Italy
Department of Cellular and Molecular Oncology, IRCCS Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Via Salvatore Maugeri, 27100 Pavia (PV), Italy
Department of Biopathology and Medicine Biotechnologies, University of Palermo, Via Liborio Giuffrè 5, 90127 Palermo (PA), Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contribute equally to this work.
Cancers 2011, 3(2), 1929-1946;
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)
PDF [394 KB, uploaded 11 April 2011]


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. View Full-Text
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 (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

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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