Curr Health Sci J, vol. 40, no. 3, 2014

Stem Cells, Colorectal Cancer and Cancer Stem Cell Markers Correlations



(1)Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Romania


The idea of stem cells as being progenitors of cancer was initially controversial, but later supported by research in the field of leukemia and solid tumors. Afterwards, it was established that genetic abnormalities can affect the stem and progenitor cells, leading to uncontrolled replication and deregulated differentiation. These alterations will cause the changeover to cancerous stem cells (CSC) having two main characteristics: tumor initiation and maintenance. This review will focus on the colorectal cancer stem cell (CR-CSCs) theory which provides a better understanding of different tumor processes: initiation, aggressive growth, recurrence, treatment resistance and metastasis. A search in PubMed/Medline was performed using the following keywords: colorectal cancer stem cells (CR-CSCs), colorectal neoplasms stem cells, colorectal cancer stem cell (CR-CSCs) markers, etc. Electronic searches were supplemented by hand searching reference lists, abstracts and proceedings from meetings. Isolation of CR-CSCs can be achieved by targeting and selecting subpopulation of tumor cells based on expression of one or multiple cell surface markers associated with cancer self-renewal, markers as: CD133, CD166, CD44, CD24, beta1 integrin-CD29, Lgr5, EpCAM (ESA), ALDH-1, Msi-1, DCAMLK1 or EphB receptors. The identification and localization of CR-CSCs through different markers will hopefully lead to a better stratification of prognosis and treatment response, as well as the development of new effective strategies for cancer management.

cancer stem cells (CSC), colorectal cancer (CRC), cancer stem cell (CSC) markers, colorectal cancer stem cells (CR-CSC)

Adrian Saftoiu, MD, PhD, MSc, FASGE, Visiting Clinical Professor, Gastrointestinal Unit, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Denmark; Professor of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques in Gastroenterology, Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Craiova, Romania, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Craiova, Romania. Address: Petru Rares 2, Craiova, Dolj, 200349, Romania. E-mail:,

DOI 10.12865/CHSJ.40.03.01 - Download PDF