Colon cancer stem cells: implications for prevention and therapy

Trends Mol Med. 2008 Nov;14(11):503-9. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2008.09.005. Epub 2008 Oct 17.


The recent identification of colon cancer tumor-initiating cells adds further support to the cancer stem cell hypothesis. Ongoing basic and translational research efforts are aimed at gaining an increased understanding of the biology of these cells, as well as methods of targeting them. In addition, the relationship between colon carcinogenesis and inflammatory conditions, such as longstanding colitis and inherited syndromes, might be linked to the effect of the processes on stem cells in the colon. This review summarizes current literature on colon cancer stem cells and proposes strategies aimed at targeting these cells for colon cancer prevention and therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / complications
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction