Cancer is one amongst the major causes of death today and cancer biology is one of the most well researched fields in medicine. The driving force behind cancer is considered to be a minor subpopulation of cells, the cancer stem cells (CSCs). Similar to other stem cells, these cells are self-renewing and proliferating but CSCs are also difficult to target by chemo- or radio-therapies. Cancer stem cells are known to be present in most of the cancer subgroups such as carcinoma, sarcoma, myeloma, leukemia, lymphomas and mixed cancer types. There is a wide gamut of factors attributed to the stemness of cancers, ranging from dysregulated signaling pathways, and activation of enzymes aiding immune evasion, to conducive tumor microenvironment, to name a few. The defining outcome of the increased presence of CSCs is tumor metastasis and relapse. Predictive medicine approach based on the plethora of CSC markers would be a move towards precision medicine to specifically identify CSC-rich tumors. In this review, we discuss the cancer subtypes and the role of different CSC specific markers in these varying subtypes. We also categorize the CSC markers based their defining trait contributing to stemness. This review thus provides a comprehensive approach to catalogue a predictive set of markers to identify the resistant and refractory cancer stem cell population within different tumor subtypes, so as to facilitate better prognosis and targeted therapeutic strategies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research