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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 155-164

Breast cancer stem cells, epigenetics, and radiation


1 Rutgers School of Graduate Studies; Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers School of Biomedical Health Science, São Paulo, Brazil
2 Rutgers School of Graduate Studies, New Jersey Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil
3 Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
4 Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers School of Biomedical Health Science, Newark, NJ, USA
5 Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers School of Biomedical Health Science, Newark, NJ, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pranela Rameshwar
Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers School of Biomedical Health Science, Newark, NJ
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jrcr.jrcr_29_18

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Breast cancer remains a clinical problem despite advancements in the field. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) within the breast cancer population are implicated in cancer relapse. The dormant CSCs generally resist available treatment, thus challenging the current treatment paradigm. Radiation is an aggressive form of treatment typically used to reduce tumor mass in breast cancer patients. Several clinical and research-based studies have shown that radiation treatment cannot target all cancer cells, leaving behind radioresistant cells. The radioresistant cells have the potential to acquire stem cell-like features that render them untargetable with respect to the current technology. This review elaborates on cancer cells acquiring stem cell phenotype. In addition, we discuss the phenotype and function of cancer cells that are derived from radioresistant cells as well as indirect changes as a consequence to bystander effect. In addition, the epigenetic profile of the radioresistant cells plays a crucial role in the acquisition of cycling quiescence and stem cell-like phenotype and is detailed in this review.


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