For decades, intensive studies have attempted to identify the mechanisms underlying malignant tumor growth. Despite significant progress, most therapeutic approaches fail to eliminate all tumor cells. The remaining tumor cells often result in recurrence and metastasis. Recently, the idea of a cancer stem cell was proposed to explain of the origin of cancer cells. According to this hypothesis, a small fraction of tumor cells have the capacity for self-renewal, with unlimited slow proliferation potential. They are often resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and thus are responsible for continuously supplying new cancer cells, which themselves may have a limited life span. In recent years, accumulating experimental evidence supports this hypothesis and provides new possibilities to conquer cancer. This review will focus on the distinction between normal adult stem cells and cancer stem cells and identifies possible key targets for effective therapies of cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)
- Cancer stem cell
- Cancer treatment
- Stem cell