Breast cancer stem cells: implications for therapy of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res. 2008;10(4):210. doi: 10.1186/bcr2111. Epub 2008 Jul 22.


The concept of cancer stem cells responsible for tumour origin, maintenance, and resistance to treatment has gained prominence in the field of breast cancer research. The therapeutic targeting of these cells has the potential to eliminate residual disease and may become an important component of a multimodality treatment. Recent improvements in immunotherapy targeting of tumour-associated antigens have advanced the prospect of targeting breast cancer stem cells, an approach that might lead to more meaningful clinical remissions. Here, we review the role of stem cells in the healthy breast, the role of breast cancer stem cells in disease, and the potential to target these cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antigens, Neoplasm