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Curr Pharmacol Rep. 2018 Aug;4(4):326-335. doi: 10.1007/s40495-018-0145-2. Epub 2018 Jun 26.

Role of Dietary Cancer-Preventive Phytochemicals in Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells.

Author information

Center for Cancer Prevention and Drug Development, Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and VA Medical Center, Oklahoma City, United States.


Purpose of review:

This article provides a brief overview of cancer-preventive phytochemicals specifically targeting pancreatic cancer (PC) stem cells for prevention and treatment.

Recent findings:

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) represent a small proportion of the total cells of a given tumor, and contribute to tumor growth, recurrence, metastasis, and treatment resistance. Many intertwined pathways, including hedgehog, Wnt Signaling, and NOTCH, have been shown to play a role in the formation of CSCs. Recently, numerous chemopreventive agents, such as genistein, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), sulforaphane, curcumin, resveratrol, and quercetin, have been shown to target CSCs mediated through the inhibition of multiple signalling pathways, to avoid toxicity and the side effects of chemical compounds.


A growing body of research suggests that CSCs are the drivers in treatment resistance, cancer recurrence, and metastasis, in addition to tumor initiation and heterogeneity. Patient survival depends on these CSCs, which are one cause of tumor recurrence after surgery and chemotherapy. Therefore, target selection; an improved understanding of CSC biology, the genetic and molecular profiles of CSCs, and their key signaling pathways, and; appropriate clinical trials endpoints that are designed to target CSCs will help in the development of drugs that will specifically target this small population of stem cells.


cancer stem cells; pancreatic cancer; phytochemicals; polyphenols

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