The Role of Cancer Stem Cells in Recurrent and Drug-Resistant Lung Cancer.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016 ;890:57-74. PMID: 26703799
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide with a 5-year overall survival rate of less than 20 %. Considering the treatments currently available, this statistics is shocking. A possible explanation for the disconnect between sophisticated treatments and the survival rate can be related to the post-treatment enrichment of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs), which is one of a sub-set of drug resistant tumor cells with abilities of self-renewal, cancer initiation, and further maintenance of tumors. Lung CSCs have been associated with resistance to radiation and chemotherapeutic treatments. CSCs have also been implicated in tumor recurrence because CSCs are not typically killed after conventional therapy. Investigation of CSCs in determining their role in tumor recurrence and drug-resistance relied heavily on the use of specific markers present in CSCs, including CD133, ALDH, ABCG2, and Nanog. Yet another cell type that is also associated with increased resistance to treatment is epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotypic cells. Through the processes of EMT, epithelial cells lose their epithelial phenotype and gain mesenchymal properties, rendering EMT phenotypic cells acquire drug-resistance. In this chapter, we will further discuss the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) especially because miRNA-based therapies are becoming attractive target with respect to therapeutic resistance and CSCs. Finally, the potential role of the natural agents and synthetic derivatives of natural compounds with anti-cancer activity, e.g. curcumin, CDF, and BR-DIM is highlighted in overcoming therapeutic resistance, suggesting that the above mentioned agents could be important for better treatment of lung cancer in combination therapy.