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Molecular Mechanisms Underlying the Functions of Cellular Markers Associated with the Phenotype of Cancer Stem Cells

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 5 ]


Eduardo Alvarado-Ortiz , Miguel Angel Sarabia-Sanchez and Alejandro Garcia-Carranca*   Pages 405 - 420 ( 16 )


Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) generally constitute a minor cellular population within tumors that exhibits some capacities of normal Stem Cells (SC). The existence of CSC, able to self-renew and differentiate, influences central aspects of tumor biology, in part because they can continue tumor growth, give rise to metastasis, and acquire drug and radioresistance, which open new avenues for therapeutics. It is well known that SC constantly interacts with their niche, which includes mesenchymal cells, extracellular ligands, and the Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM). These interactions regularly lead to homeostasis and maintenance of SC characteristics. However, the exact participation of each of these components for CSC maintenance is not clear, as they appear to be context- or cell-specific. In the recent past, surface cellular markers have been fundamental molecular tools for identifying CSC and distinguishing them from other tumor cells. Importantly, some of these cellular markers have been shown to possess functional roles that affect central aspects of CSC. Likewise, some of these markers can participate in regulating the interaction of CSC with their niche, particularly the ECM. We focused this review on the molecular mechanisms of surface cellular markers commonly employed to identify CSC, highlighting the signaling pathways and mechanisms involved in CSC-ECM interactions, through each of the cellular markers commonly used in the study of CSC, such as CD44, CD133, CD49f, CD24, CXCR4, and LGR5. Their presence does not necessarily implicate them in CSC biology.


Cancer, Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM), phenotype, self-renewal, signaling pathways, stemness, surface markers.


Programa de Maestria y Doctorado en Ciencias Biologicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Programa de Maestria y Doctorado en Ciencias Bioquimicas, Facultad de Quimica, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Laboratory of Virus and Cancer, Unidad de Investigación Biomédica en Cáncer, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México & Subdirección de Investigación Básica, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología, Secretaría de Salud. Ciudad de Mexico

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