Notch signaling in cancer stem cells.
Subpopulations of cancer cells with stem cell-like characteristics, termed cancer stem cells, have been identified in a wide range of human cancers. Cancer stem cells are defined by their ability to self-renew as well as recapitulate the original heterogeneity of cancer cells in culture and in serial xenotransplants. Not only are cancer stem cells highly tumorigenic, but these cells are implicated in tumor resistance to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy, thus highlighting their significance as therapeutic targets. Considerable similarities have been found between cancer stem cells and normal stem cells on their dependence on certain signaling pathways. More specifically, the core stem cell signaling pathways, such as the Wnt, Notch and Hedgehog pathways, also critically regulate the self-renewal and survival of cancer stem cells. While the oncogenic functions of Notch pathway have been well documented, its role in cancer stem cells is just emerging. In this chapter, we will discuss recent advances in cancer stem cell research and highlight the therapeutic potential of targeting Notch in cancer stem cells.
Wang, J; Sullenger, BA; Rich, JN
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