Potential mechanisms of CD133 in cancer stem cells

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Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have emerged as an underlying cause of cancer relapse and resistance to treatment. Initially, biomarkers were used to identify and isolate distinct cell populations. Several CSC markers have been identified from many types of tumors, and these markers are also being used for isolation and enrichment of CSCs. Cluster of differentiation CD133 is a well-characterized CSC marker, and it is involved in tumor cell proliferation, metastasis, tumorigenesis, and recurrence, as well as chemo- and radio-resistance. However, the mechanisms involved in CD133-mediated induction of CSC properties have not yet been elucidated. Here, we introduce and summarize the functions of CD133 in CSCs and suggest new mechanisms that may be of note in our approach to developing novel cancer therapies.

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