Cancer Stem Cells and Resistance to Traditional Therapies

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been identified in a variety of tumor types. Evidence suggests that these cells possess considerable resistance to conventional chemotherapy and radiation.1 Thus, typical therapeutic strategies that target actively proliferating cancer cells may yield bulk tumor shrinkage while allowing a population of CSCs to survive.2

Stemness Signaling Pathways and Resistance to Therapy

The relatively slow rate of proliferation of CSCs may confer protection against traditional therapies.3 The tumor microenvironment and aberrant regulation of signaling pathways also contribute to CSCs’ resistance to radiation and chemotherapy.4


  1. Ajani JA, Song S, Hochster HS, Steinberg IB. Cancer stem cells: the promise and the potential. Semin Oncol. 2015;42(suppl 1):S3-S17.
  2. Jordan CT, Guzman ML, Noble M. Cancer stem cells. N Engl J Med.
  3. Boman BM, Huang E. Human colon cancer stem cells: a new paradigm in gastrointestinal
    oncology. J Clin Oncol. 2008;26(17):2828-2838.
  4. Borovski T, De Sousa E, Melo F, Vermeulen L, Medema JP. Cancer stem cell niche: the place to be. Cancer Res. 2011;71(3):634-639.

Current Clinical Trials

Our ongoing studies in advanced cancers emphasize inhibition of cancer stem cell pathways.Learn More