32. Targeting Different States of Breast Cancer Stem Cells

  1. Vinagolu K. Rajasekhar
  1. Sean P. McDermott and
  2. Max S. Wicha

Published Online: 31 JAN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118356203.ch32

Cancer Stem Cells

Cancer Stem Cells

How to Cite

McDermott, S. P. and Wicha, M. S. (2014) Targeting Different States of Breast Cancer Stem Cells, in Cancer Stem Cells (ed V. K. Rajasekhar), John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ. doi: 10.1002/9781118356203.ch32

Author Information

  1. Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Michigan, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 31 JAN 2014
  2. Published Print: 31 MAR 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118356166

Online ISBN: 9781118356203



  • anti-CSC agents;
  • breast cancer;
  • cancer stem cells (CSCs);
  • CSC states;
  • drug discovery


The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis postulates that tumors are maintained by a self-renewing CSC population that is also capable of differentiating into non-self-renewing cell populations that constitute the bulk of the tumor. Emerging evidence suggests breast CSCs exist in different states based on epithelial or mesenchymal properties. Furthermore, it appears these CSC states are “reversible,” and recent data suggest that some non-CSC populations may acquire CSC characteristics. Clinically, CSCs are predicted to be involved in metastasis and mediate tumor recurrence after chemotherapy and radiotherapy due to the relative inability of these modalities to effectively target CSCs. If this is the case, then CSC must be efficiently targeted to achieve a true cure. The different states of breast CSCs and the potential of non-CSCs to acquire CSC characteristics present formidable challenges in developing anti-breast CSC therapies and clinically evaluating these therapies. Here, we present a roadmap for the development and evaluation of CSC targeting agents.