Back to Journals » OncoTargets and Therapy » Volume 9

Esophageal cancer stem cells and implications for future therapeutics

Authors Qian X, Tan C, Wang F, Yang B, Ge Y, Guan Z, Cai J

Received 26 December 2015

Accepted for publication 18 February 2016

Published 19 April 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 2247—2254


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Faris Farassati

Xia Qian,* Cheng Tan,* Feng Wang,* Baixia Yang, Yangyang Ge, Zhifeng Guan, Jing Cai

Department of Radiation Oncology, Nantong Tumor Hospital, Affiliated Tumor Hospital of Nantong University, Nantong, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Esophageal carcinoma (EC) is a lethal disease with high morbidity and mortality worldwide, and the incidence has been increasing in recent years. Although the diagnosis and treatment of EC have improved considerably, EC has rapidly progressed in the clinical setting and has a poor prognosis for its metastasis and recurrence. The general idea of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is primarily based on clinical and experimental observations, indicating the existence of a subpopulation of cells that can self-renew and differentiate. The EC stem cells, which can be isolated from normal pluripotent stem cells by applying similar biomarkers, may participate in promoting esophageal tumorigenesis through renewal and repair. In this review, major emphasis is given to CSC markers, altered CSC-specific pathways, and molecular targeting agents currently available to target CSCs of esophageal cancer. The roles of numerous markers (CD44, aldehyde dehydrogenase, CD133, and ATP-binding cassette subfamily G member 2) and developmental signaling pathways (Wnt/β-catenin, Notch, hedgehog, and Hippo) in isolating esophageal CSCs are discussed in detail. Targeting CSCs can be a logical strategy to treat EC, as these cells are responsible for carcinoma recurrence and chemoradiation resistance.
Keywords: esophageal cancer, cancer stem cells, CD44, ALDH, CD133, ABCG2

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]