Published online Mar 26, 2016. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v8.i3.62
Peer-review started: November 3, 2015
First decision: December 4, 2015
Revised: December 17, 2015
Accepted: January 27, 2016
Article in press: January 29, 2016
Published online: March 26, 2016
The recapitulation of primary tumour heterogenity and the existence of a minor sub-population of cancer cells, capable of initiating tumour growth in xenografts on serial passages, led to the hypothesis that cancer stem cells (CSCs) exist. CSCs are present in many tumours, among which is breast cancer. Breast CSCs (BCSCs) are likely to sustain the growth of the primary tumour mass, as well as to be responsible for disease relapse and metastatic spreading. Consequently, BCSCs represent the most significant target for new drugs in breast cancer therapy. Both the hypoxic condition in BCSCs biology and pro-inflammatory cytokine network has gained increasing importance in the recent past. Breast stromal cells are crucial components of the tumours milieu and are a major source of inflammatory mediators. Recently, the anti-inflammatory role of some nuclear receptors ligands has emerged in several diseases, including breast cancer. Therefore, the use of nuclear receptors ligands may be a valid strategy to inhibit BCSCs viability and consequently breast cancer growth and disease relapse.
Core tip: This review examines the roles of breast cancer stem cells (BCSC) in the eliminate breast cancer disease. BCSCs represent the most significant target for new drugs in breast cancer therapy. The use of nuclear receptors ligands may be a valid strategy to inhibit BCSCs viability and consequently breast cancer growth and disease relapse.