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Title: The use of natural products to target cancer stem cells.
The cancer stem cell hypothesis has been used to explain many cancer complications resulting in poor patient outcomes including induced drug resistance, metastases to distant organs, and tumor recurrence. While the validity of the cancer stem cell model continues to be the cause of much scientific debate, a number of putative cancer stem cell markers have been identified making studies concerning the targeting of cancer stem cells possible. In this review, a number of identifying properties of cancer stem cells have been outlined including properties contributing to the drug resistance and metastatic potential commonly observed in supposed cancer stem cells. Due to cancer stem cells' numerous survival mechanisms, the diversity of cancer stem cell markers between cancer types and tissues, and the prevalence of cancer stem cell markers among healthy stem and somatic cells, it is likely that currently utilized treatments will continue to fail to eradicate cancer stem cells. The successful treatment of cancer stem cells will rely upon the development of anti-neoplastic drugs capable of influencing many cellular mechanisms simultaneously in order to prevent the survival of this evasive subpopulation. Natural compounds represent a historically rich source of novel, biologically active compounds which are able to interact with a large number of cellular targets while limiting the painful side-effects commonly associated with cancer treatment. A brief review of select natural products that have been demonstrated to diminish the clinically devastating properties of cancer stem cells or to induce cancer stem cell death is also presented.  more » « less
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American journal of cancer research
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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