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World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. 2012 Feb 15;3(1):1-9. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v3.i1.1.

Regulation of colon cancer recurrence and development of therapeutic strategies.

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Shailender Singh Kanwar, Anuradha Poolla, Adhip PN Majumdar, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University-School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, United States.


Recurrence of colon cancer still remains a major issue which affects nearly 50% of patients treated by conventional therapeutics. Although the underlying causative factor(s) is not fully understood, development of drug-resistance has been associated with induction of cancer stem or stem-like cells (CSCs) which constitute a small sub-population of tumor cells known to be highly resistant to chemotherapy. In fact, the discovery of CSCs in a variety of tumors (including colon cancer) has changed the view of carcinogenesis and therapeutic strategies. Emerging reports have indicated that to improve patient outcomes, conventional anticancer therapies should be replaced with specific approaches targeting CSCs. Thus, therapeutic strategies that specifically target CSCs are being sought to reduce the risk of relapse and metastasis. In order to specifically target colon CSCs (while sparing somatic intestinal stem cells), it is critical to identify unique deregulated pathways responsible for self-renewal of CSCs and colon cancer recurrence. Colon CSCs present a unique opportunity to better understand the biology of solid tumors. Thus, a better understanding of the clinical signs and symptoms of colon cancer patients (undergoing surgery or chemotherapy) during perioperative periods, along with the underlying regulatory events affecting the stem/progenitor cell self-renewal and differentiation of colon epithelial cells, is of immense importance. In this review we discuss the implication of clinical factors and the emerging role of CSCs during recurrence of colon cancer along with the development of new therapeutic strategies involving the use of natural agents.


5-Fluorouracil; Cancer stem cells; Chemo-resistance; Oxaliplatin; β-catenin

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