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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Signaling in colon cancer stem cells

Sanchita Roy12 and Adhip PN Majumdar123*

Author Affiliations

1 John D Dingell VA Medical Centre, 4646 John R; Room: B-4238, Detroit, MI, 48201, USA

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, 48201, USA

3 Karmanos Cancer Centre, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, 48201, USA

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Journal of Molecular Signaling 2012, 7:11  doi:10.1186/1750-2187-7-11

Published: 6 August 2012

Abstract

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer worldwide and ranks third among the cancer-related deaths in the US and other Western countries. It occurs with equal frequency in men and women, constituting 10% of new cancer cases in men and 11% in women. Despite recent advancement in therapeutics, the survival rates from metastatic are less than 5%. Growing evidence supports the contention that epithelial cancers including colorectal cancer, the incidence of which increases with aging, are diseases driven by the pluripotent, self-renewing cancer stem cells (CSCs). Dysregulation of Wnt, Notch, Hedgehog and/or TGF-β signaling pathways that are involved in proliferation and maintenance of CSCs leads to the development of CRC. This review focuses on the signaling pathways relevant for CRC to understand the mechanisms leading to tumor progression and therapy resistance, which may help in the development of therapeutic strategies for CRC.

Keywords:
Colon cancer; Cancer stem cell; Notch; Wnt; TGF-β; Hedgehog