Cancer Stem Cells and Radioresistance: DNA Repair and Beyond

Cancers (Basel). 2019 Jun 21;11(6):862. doi: 10.3390/cancers11060862.


The current preclinical and clinical findings demonstrate that, in addition to the conventional clinical and pathological indicators that have a prognostic value in radiation oncology, the number of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and their inherent radioresistance are important parameters for local control after radiotherapy. In this review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms of CSC radioresistance attributable to DNA repair mechanisms and the development of CSC-targeted therapies for tumor radiosensitization. We also discuss the current challenges in preclinical and translational CSC research including the high inter- and intratumoral heterogeneity, plasticity of CSCs, and microenvironment-stimulated tumor cell reprogramming.

Keywords: 5Rs of radiation biology; DNA repair; cancer stem cells; radioresistance.

Publication types

  • Review