Stemness of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) May Drive Tumor Growth

Stemness is defined by the ability to self-renew and differentiate.1 Unlike normal stem cells, which differentiate into healthy, mature cell types, CSCs differentiate into cancer cells.1 The stemness of CSCs is maintained by various signaling pathways that are overactivated, including JAK/STAT, Wnt/β-catenin, Nanog, and Notch, depending on the tumor type.2-6

Stemness may enable CSCs to metastasize and regrow tumors.7 This makes CSCs phenotypically different from non-stem cancer cells and may confer therapy resistance.7 Stemness can be acquired by non-stem cancer cells as they dedifferentiate in response to multiple stimuli, possibly including conventional cancer therapies.8,9


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