Thyroid hormone promotes differentiation of colon cancer stem cells

Annunziata Gaetana Cicatiello, Raffaele Ambrosio, Monica Dentice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumor formation and maintenance depend on a small fraction of cancer stem cells (CSCs) that can self-renew and generate a wide variety of differentiated cells. CSCs are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation, and can represent a reservoir of cancer cells that often cause relapse after treatment. Evidence suggests that CSCs also give rise to metastases. Thyroid hormone (TH) controls a variety of biological processes including the development and functioning of most adult tissues. Recent years has seen the emergence of an intimate link between TH and multiple steps of tumorigenesis. Thyroid hormone controls the balance between the proliferation and differentiation of CSCs, and may thus be a druggable anti-cancer agent. Here, we review current understanding of the effects of TH on colorectal CSCs, including the cross regulatory loops between TH and regulators of CSC stemness. Targeting TH in the tumor microenvironment may improve treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 25 2017


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Deiodinases
  • Thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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