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Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2011 Feb;8(2):97-106. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2010.196. Epub 2010 Dec 14.

Targeting cancer stem cells by inhibiting Wnt, Notch, and Hedgehog pathways.

Author information

1
National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, Investigational Drug Branch, EPN7131, 6130 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA.

Abstract

Tumor relapse and metastasis remain major obstacles for improving overall cancer survival, which may be due at least in part to the existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs are characterized by tumorigenic properties and the ability to self-renew, form differentiated progeny, and develop resistance to therapy. CSCs use many of the same signaling pathways that are found in normal stem cells, such as Wnt, Notch, and Hedgehog (Hh). The origin of CSCs is not fully understood, but data suggest that they originate from normal stem or progenitor cells, or possibly other cancer cells. Therapeutic targeting of both CSCs and bulk tumor populations may provide a strategy to suppress tumor regrowth. Development of agents that target critical steps in the Wnt, Notch, and Hh pathways will be complicated by signaling cross-talk. The role that embryonic signaling pathways play in the function of CSCs, the development of new anti-CSC therapeutic agents, and the complexity of potential CSC signaling cross-talk are described in this Review.

PMID:
21151206
DOI:
10.1038/nrclinonc.2010.196
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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