Expression of the cancer stem cell markers ABCG2 and OCT-4 in right-sided colon cancer predicts recurrence and poor outcomes
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have attracted much attention of the research community in the recent years. Due to their highly tumorigenic and drug-resistant properties, CSCs represent important targets for developing novel anticancer agents and therapeutic strategies. CSCs were first described in hematopoietic malignancies and subsequently identified in various types of solid tumors including brain, breast, lung, colon, melanoma, and ovarian cancer. CSCs possess special biological properties including long-term self-renewal capacity, multi-lineage differentiation, and resistance to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As such, CSCs are considered as a major source of residual disease after therapy leading to disease occurrence. Thus, it is very important to understand the cellular survival mechanisms specific to CSCs and accordingly develop effective therapeutic approaches to eliminate this subpopulation of cancer cells in order to improve the treatment outcome of cancer patients. Possible therapeutic strategies against CSCs include targeting the self-renewal pathways of CSCs, interrupting the interaction between CSCs and their microenvironment, and exploiting the unique metabolic properties of CSCs. In this review article, we will provide an overview of the biological characteristics of CSCs, with a particular focus on their metabolic properties and potential therapeutic strategies to eliminate CSCs.