Cancer stem cell targeted therapy: progress amid controversies

Tao Wang, Sarah Shigdar, Michael P. Gantier, Yingchun Hou, Li Wang, Yong Li, Hadi Al Shamaileh, Wang Yin, Shu-Feng Zhou, Xinhan Zhao _ and Wei Duan

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:44191-44206. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6176

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Tao Wang1,2, Sarah Shigdar2, Michael P. Gantier3,4 , Yingchun Hou5, Li Wang6, Yong Li7, Hadi Al Shamaileh2, Wang Yin2, Shu-Feng Zhou8, Xinhan Zhao9 and Wei Duan2

1 School of Nursing, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China

2 School of Medicine, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Victoria, Australia

3 Centre for Cancer Research, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

4 Department of Molecular and Translational Science, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

5 Co-Innovation Center for Qinba Region’s Sustainable Development, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, China

6 Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Henan Cancer Hospital, The Affiliated Cancer Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China

7 Cancer Care Centre, St George Hospital and St George Clinical School, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Kensington, Australia

8 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

9 Department of Medical Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Xi’an, China

Correspondence to:

Xinhan Zhao, email:

Wei Duan, email:

Keywords: cancer, cancer stem cell, anti-cancer treatment, cancer stem cell marker, cancer stem cell model

Received: August 12, 2015 Accepted: October 06, 2015 Published: October 19, 2015


Although cancer stem cells have been well characterized in numerous malignancies, the fundamental characteristics of this group of cells, however, have been challenged by some recent observations: cancer stem cells may not necessary to be rare within tumors; cancer stem cells and non-cancer stem cells may undergo reversible phenotypic changes; and the cancer stem cells phenotype can vary substantially between patients. Here the current status and progresses of cancer stem cells theory is illustrated and via providing a panoramic view of cancer therapy, we addressed the recent controversies regarding the feasibility of cancer stem cells targeted anti-cancer therapy.

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