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Cytokines driving breast cancer stemness.

  • Author(s): Chin, Andrew R
  • Wang, Shizhen Emily
  • et al.

There is increasing evidence for the cancer stem cell model in which a subset of cancer cells possessing stem cell properties, referred to as tumor-initiating or cancer stem-like cells (CSCs), play crucial roles in multiple aspects of cancer. Recent studies have started to characterize the crucial role of various cytokines in the tumor microenvironment in regulating the fate of CSCs. In this review, we summarized some of the latest findings on cytokines that drive breast cancer stemness and their mechanisms of action. These cytokines, including IL-6, IL-8, CCL2 and TGF-β, are frequently elevated in breast tumors and may hold promise as potential therapeutic targets to eradicate CSCs. In combination with conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy targeting rapidly proliferating cancer cells, intervention of the cancer stemness-driving cytokines may achieve additional benefits for breast cancer patients by suppressing CSC-promoted cancer progression, recurrence, and drug refractoriness.

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