Cancer stem cells in breast cancer

Ryou U. Takahashi, Fumitaka Takeshita, Tomohiro Fujiwara, Makiko Ono, Takahiro Ochiya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The cancer stem cell (CSC) theory is generally acknowledged as an important field of cancer research, not only as an academic matter but also as a crucial aspect of clinical practice. CSCs share a variety of biological properties with normal somatic stem cells in self-renewal, the propagation of differentiated progeny, the expression of specific cell markers and stem cell genes, and the utilization of common signaling pathways and the stem cell niche. However, CSCs differ from normal stem cells in their chemoresistance and their tumorigenic and metastatic activities. In this review, we focus on recent reports regarding the identification of CSC markers and the molecular mechanism of CSC phenotypes to understand the basic properties and molecular target of CSCs. In addition, we especially focus on the CSCs of breast cancer since the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy can lead to the enrichment of CSCs in patients with that disease. The identification of CSC markers and an improved understanding of the molecular mechanism of CSC phenotypes should lead to progress in cancer therapy and improved prognoses for patients with cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1311-1328
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer stem cells
  • EMT
  • MicroRNAs
  • TGF-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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