MICROSCOPY Vol.46▶No.2 2011
â– Feature Articles: Tumor Initiating Cells and Their Regulation

Immunotherapy Targeting Cancer Stem-Like Cells

Yoshitaka Michifuri, Yoshihiko Hirohashi, Hiroyoshi Hiratsuka and Noriyuki Sato

Abstract: Cancer stem-like cells/ tumor-initiating cells (CSCs/TICs) have been reported in several malignancies. CSCs/TICs are defined as a highly tumorigenic small subpopulation of cancer cells and they are thought to maintain tumor. CSCs/TICs are known to be resistant to standard cancer therapies including chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Therefore, CSCs/TICs are thought to be deeply related to distant metastasis and/or recurrence after treatment, and elimination of CSCs/TICs is essential to cure the disease. Cancer immunotherapy research have greatly developed in the last two decades, and now several clinical trials for the cancer immunotherapy have already been launched throughout the world. It is now expected as the fourth standard cancer therapy following operative therapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In this review article, we summerize the recent progress of cancer immunotherapy targeting CSCs/TICs, and discuss how it will become to be practicable.

Key words: cancer stem-like cell, immunotherapy, tumor antigen