Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Advances in Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells within the Tumor Microenvironment: An Updated Review

Version 1 : Received: 19 May 2020 / Approved: 19 May 2020 / Online: 19 May 2020 (14:01:27 CEST)

How to cite: Senthebane, D.A.; Ganz, C.; Thomford, N.E.; Dzobo, K. Advances in Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells within the Tumor Microenvironment: An Updated Review. Preprints 2020, 2020050315 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0315.v1). Senthebane, D.A.; Ganz, C.; Thomford, N.E.; Dzobo, K. Advances in Therapeutic Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells within the Tumor Microenvironment: An Updated Review. Preprints 2020, 2020050315 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0315.v1).

Abstract

Despite great strides being achieved in improving cancer patients’ outcomes through better therapies and combinatorial treatment, several hurdles still remain due to therapy resistance, cancer recurrence and metastasis. Drug resistance, culminating in relapse and metastatic disease continue to be associated with fatal disease. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a subpopulation of cancer cells known to be resistant to therapy and cause metastasis. Whilst the debate on whether CSCs are the origins of the primary tumor rages on, CSCs have been further characterised in many cancers with data illustrating that CSCs display great abilities to self-renew, withstand therapies due to enhanced epithelial to mesenchymal (EMT) properties, enhanced expression of ABC membrane transporters, activation of several survival signaling pathways and increased immune evasion DNA repair mechanisms. CSCs also display great heterogeneity with the consequential lack of specific CSC markers presenting a great challenge to their targeting. In this updated review we re-visit CSCs within the tumor microenvironment (TME) and present novel treatment strategies targeting CSCs. These promising strategies include targeting CSCs-specific properties using small molecule inhibitors, immunotherapy, microRNA mediated inhibitors, epigenetic methods as well as targeting CSC niche-microenvironmental factors and differentiation. Lastly, we present recent clinical trials undertaken to try to turn the tide against cancer by targeting CSC-associated drug resistance and metastasis.

Subject Areas

cancer stem cells; tumor microenvironment; metastasis; chemoresistance; epithelial to mesenchymal transition; clinical trials

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