Concise review: Breast cancer stem cells: Regulatory networks, stem cell niches, and disease relevance

Wenjun Guo, L. Ruth, David S. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Accumulating evidence has shown that cancer stem cells (CSCs), the cancer cells that have long-term proliferative potential and the ability to regenerate tumors with phenotypically heterogeneous cell types, are important mediators of tumor metastasis and cancer relapse. In breast cancer, these cells often possess attributes of cells that have undergone an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Signaling networks mediated by microRNAs and EMT-inducing transcription factors connect the EMT program with the core stem cell regulatory machineries. These signaling networks are also regulated by extrinsic niche signals that induce and maintain CSCs, contributing to metastatic colonization and promoting the reactivation of dormant tumor cells. Targeting these CSC pathways is likely to improve the efficacy of conventional chemo- and radiotherapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)942-948
Number of pages7
JournalStem Cells Translational Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2014



  • Breast cancer stem cells
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • Metastasis
  • Tumor dormancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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