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Advances in Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells within the Tumor Microenvironment: An Updated Review

1
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Cape Town Component, Wernher and Beit Building (South), UCT Medical Campus, Anzio Road, Observatory, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
2
Division of Medical Biochemistry and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
3
Division of Human Genetics, Department of Pathology and Institute for Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Anzio Road, Observatory, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
4
Department of Medical Biochemistry, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Cape Coast, PMB, Cape Coast, Ghana
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Cells 2020, 9(8), 1896; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9081896
Received: 7 July 2020 / Revised: 4 August 2020 / Accepted: 11 August 2020 / Published: 13 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Stem Cells)
Despite great strides being achieved in improving cancer patients’ outcomes through better therapies and combinatorial treatment, several hurdles still remain due to therapy resistance, cancer recurrence and metastasis. Drug resistance culminating in relapse continues to be associated with fatal disease. The cancer stem cell theory posits that tumors are driven by specialized cancer cells called cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs are a subpopulation of cancer cells known to be resistant to therapy and cause metastasis. Whilst the debate on whether CSCs are the origins of the primary tumor rages on, CSCs have been further characterized in many cancers with data illustrating that CSCs display great abilities to self-renew, resist therapies due to enhanced epithelial to mesenchymal (EMT) properties, enhanced expression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) membrane transporters, activation of several survival signaling pathways and increased immune evasion as well as DNA repair mechanisms. CSCs also display great heterogeneity with the consequential lack of specific CSC markers presenting a great challenge to their targeting. In this updated review we revisit CSCs within the tumor microenvironment (TME) and present novel treatment strategies targeting CSCs. These promising strategies include targeting CSCs-specific properties using small molecule inhibitors, immunotherapy, microRNA mediated inhibitors, epigenetic methods as well as targeting CSC niche-microenvironmental factors and differentiation. Lastly, we present recent clinical trials undertaken to try to turn the tide against cancer by targeting CSC-associated drug resistance and metastasis. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer stem cells; tumor microenvironment; metastasis; drug resistance; ABC transporters; epithelial to mesenchymal transition; hypoxia; clinical trials cancer stem cells; tumor microenvironment; metastasis; drug resistance; ABC transporters; epithelial to mesenchymal transition; hypoxia; clinical trials
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dzobo, K.; Senthebane, D.A.; Ganz, C.; Thomford, N.E.; Wonkam, A.; Dandara, C. Advances in Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells within the Tumor Microenvironment: An Updated Review. Cells 2020, 9, 1896. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9081896

AMA Style

Dzobo K, Senthebane DA, Ganz C, Thomford NE, Wonkam A, Dandara C. Advances in Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells within the Tumor Microenvironment: An Updated Review. Cells. 2020; 9(8):1896. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9081896

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dzobo, Kevin; Senthebane, Dimakatso A.; Ganz, Chelene; Thomford, Nicholas E.; Wonkam, Ambroise; Dandara, Collet. 2020. "Advances in Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells within the Tumor Microenvironment: An Updated Review" Cells 9, no. 8: 1896. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9081896

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

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