Breast cancer stem cell as therapeutic targets
In the past two decades, more than 30 new anticancer drugs have been introduced, but survival rates have improved only marginally for many forms of cancers. In contrast to most cancer cells, cancer stem cells are slow-dividing and have less ability to undergo apoptosis and higher ability of DNA repair, making them more resistant to traditional methods of cancer treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy. In vitro experiments comparing differentiated breast cancer cells grown under monolayer conditions with CD24 CD44 cancer cells grown under mammosphere conditions showed that the stem cell-like population was more resistant to radiation. For therapy to be more effective, debulking of differentiated tumours must occur followed by targeting of the remaining surviving, often quiescent, tumour stem cells. This could be accomplished by differentiating breast cancer stem cells through differentiating therapy or eliminating them via immunotherapy.