Cancer stem cells and signaling pathways in radioresistance

Lei Chang, Peter Graham, Jingli Hao, Jie Ni, Junli Deng, Joseph Bucci, David Malouf, David Gillatt and Yong Li _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:11002-11017. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6760

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Lei Chang1,2, Peter Graham1,2, Jingli Hao1,2, Jie Ni1,2, Junli Deng1,2, Joseph Bucci1,2, David Malouf3, David Gillatt3,4 and Yong Li1,2

1 Cancer Care Centre, St George Hospital, Kogarah, NSW, Australia

2 St George and Sutherland Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia

3 Department of Urology, St George Hospital, Kogarah, NSW, Australia

4 Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Correspondence to:

Yong Li, email:

Keywords: cancer, radiotherapy, radioresistance, CSC, signaling pathway

Received: October 13, 2015 Accepted: December 22, 2015 Published: December 24, 2015


Radiation therapy (RT) is one of the most important strategies in cancer treatment. Radioresistance (the failure to RT) results in locoregional recurrence and metastasis. Therefore, it is critically important to investigate the mechanisms leading to cancer radioresistance to overcome this problem and increase patients’ survival. Currently, the majority of the radioresistance-associated researches have focused on preclinical studies. Although the exact mechanisms of cancer radioresistance have not been fully uncovered, accumulating evidence supports that cancer stem cells (CSCs) and different signaling pathways play important roles in regulating radiation response and radioresistance. Therefore, targeting CSCs or signaling pathway proteins may hold promise for developing novel combination modalities and overcoming radioresistance. The present review focuses on the key evidence of CSC markers and several important signaling pathways in cancer radioresistance and explores innovative approaches for future radiation treatment.

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