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Emerging targets in cancer management: role of the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis

Authors Cojoc M, Peitzsch C, Trautmann F, Polishchuk L, Telegeev GD, Dubrovska A

Received 16 June 2013

Accepted for publication 26 July 2013

Published 30 September 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 1347—1361

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S36109

Checked for plagiarism Yes

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Peer reviewer comments 4


Monica Cojoc,1 Claudia Peitzsch,1 Franziska Trautmann,1 Leo Polishchuk,2 Gennady D Telegeev,2 Anna Dubrovska1

1OncoRay National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany; 2Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine

Abstract: The chemokine CXCL12 (SDF-1) and its cell surface receptor CXCR4 were first identified as regulators of lymphocyte trafficking to the bone marrow. Soon after, the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis was proposed to regulate the trafficking of breast cancer cells to sites of metastasis. More recently, it was established that CXCR4 plays a central role in cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and dissemination in the majority of malignant diseases. The stem cell concept of cancer has revolutionized the understanding of tumorigenesis and cancer treatment. A growing body of evidence indicates that a subset of cancer cells, referred to as cancer stem cells (CSCs), plays a critical role in tumor initiation, metastatic colonization, and resistance to therapy. Although the signals generated by the metastatic niche that regulate CSCs are not yet fully understood, accumulating evidence suggests a key role of the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis. In this review we focus on physiological functions of the CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling pathway and its role in cancer and CSCs, and we discuss the potential for targeting this pathway in cancer management.

Keywords: epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, cancer stem cells, metastasis

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