Breast Cancer Stem Cells as Drivers of Tumor Chemoresistance, Dormancy and Relapse: New Challenges and Therapeutic Opportunities

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women worldwide. Therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat metastatic disease are still inadequate although great progress has been made in treating early-stage breast cancer. Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) that are endowed with high plasticity and self-renewal properties have been shown to play a key role in breast cancer development, progression, and metastasis. A subpopulation of CSCs that combines tumor-initiating capacity and a dormant/quiescent/slow cycling status is present throughout the clinical history of breast cancer patients. Dormant/quiescent/slow cycling CSCs are a key component of tumor heterogeneity and they are responsible for chemoresistance, tumor migration, and metastatic dormancy, defined as the ability of CSCs to survive in target organs and generate metastasis up to two decades after diagnosis. Understanding the strategies that are used by CSCs to resist conventional and targeted therapies, to interact with their niche, to escape immune surveillance, and finally to awaken from dormancy is of key importance to prevent and treat metastatic cancer. This review summarizes the current understanding of mechanisms involved in CSCs chemoresistance, dissemination, and metastasis in breast cancer, with a particular focus on dormant cells. Finally, we discuss how advancements in the detection, molecular understanding, and targeting of dormant CSCs will likely open new therapeutic avenues for breast cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancers
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2019

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Breast Cancer Stem Cells as Drivers of Tumor Chemoresistance, Dormancy and Relapse: New Challenges and Therapeutic Opportunities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this