Colorectal tumours are actually considered as aberrant organs, within it is possible to notice a different stage of cell growth and differentiation. Their origin is reported to arise from a subpopulation of tumour cells endowed with, just like the healthy stem cells, self-renewal and aberrant multi-lineage differentiation capacity likely to be called colorectal cancer stem cells (CCSCs). Cancer stem cells (CSCs) fate, since their origin, reflects the influences from their microenvironment (or niche) both in the maintenance of stemness, in promoting their differentiation, and in inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition, responsible of CSCs dissemination and subsequent formation of metastatic lesions. The tumour cells heterogeneity and their immuno-response resistance nowadays probably responsible of the failure of the conventional therapies, make this research field an open issue. Even more importantly, our increasing understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate CSC quiescence and cell cycle regulation, self-renewal, chemotaxis and resistance to cytotoxic agents, is expected to eventually result in tailor-made therapies with a significant impact on the morbidity and overall survival of colorectal cancer patients.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalMolecular Aspects of Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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