Prof. Yohei Shimono, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Kobe University, Japon
"Breast cancer stem cells and their metastatic dormancy: going deep into ‘Shogun’ Territory"
By analyzing surgical specimens of human breast cancer patients, we found that a set of miRNAs are differentially expressed between breast cancer stem cells and non-tumorigenic cancer cells. Among them, we found that miR-200c, miR-142 and miR-150 function as epigenetic regulators of cancer stem cells in human breast cancers. Then, we analyzed metastatic cancer stem cells using a patient-derived tumor xenograft as a model. Our results showed that metastatic cancer stem cells are in a relatively dormant state characterized by the downregulation of chemokine receptor CXCR4.
Finally, to find target protein for cancer stem cells, we compared the expression profiles of proteins between breast cancer stem cells and non-tumorigenic cancer cells isolated from patient tumors and patient-derived tumor xenografts in our collaborative research project. We envision that the therapies targeting cancer stem cells and metastatic cancer stem cells will become novel strategies in future to strive to cure breast cancer patients.