Yue Zhao, Qi Bao, Andrea Renner, Peter Camaj, Martin Eichhorn, Ivan Ischenko, Martin Angele, Axel Kleespies, Karl-Walter Jauch and Christiane Bruns*
Department of Surgery, Klinikum Grosshadern, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) or tumor initiating cells were identified and characterized as a unique subpopulation with stem cell features in many types of cancer. Current CSC studies provide novel insights regarding tumor initiation, progression, angiogenesis, resistance to therapy and interplay with the tumor micro-environment. A cancer stem cell niche has been proposed based on these findings. The niche provides the soil for CSC self-renewal and maintenance, stimulating essential signaling pathways in CSCs and leading to secretion of factors that promote angiogenesis and long term growth of CSCs. We present evidence which has emerged over the past 5 years indicating interaction of CSCs with angiogenesis in the proposed “vascular niche”. Based on these findings, targeting the “cancer stem cell niche” by combining an individualized anti-CSC approach with treatment of their microenvironment may represent a novel therapeutic strategy against solid tumor systems.
cancer stem cell, angiogenesis, cancer vascular niche/microenvironment