The evolving concept of liver cancer stem cells

Mol Cancer. 2017 Jan 30;16(1):4. doi: 10.1186/s12943-016-0572-9.


Liver cancer is an often fatal malignant tumor with a high recurrence rate and chemoresistance. The major malignant phenotypes of cancer, including recurrence, metastasis, and chemoresistance, are related to the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs). In the past few decades, CSCs have been identified and characterized in many tumors including liver cancer. Accumulated evidence has revealed many aspects of the biological behavior of liver CSCs and the mechanism of their regulation. Based on these findings, a number of studies have investigated eradication of liver CSCs. This review focuses on the recent advances in our understanding of the biology of liver CSCs and the development of strategies for their treatment.

Keywords: Cancer stem cell; Chemoresistance; Liver cancer; Niche.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Signal Transduction


  • Biomarkers, Tumor