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Emerging role of cancer stem cells in the biology and treatment of ovarian cancer: basic knowledge and therapeutic possibilities for an innovative approach

01 Aug 2013

In 2013 there will be an estimated 22,240 new diagnoses and 14,030 deaths from ovarian cancer in the United States. Despite the improved surgical approach and the novel active drugs that are available today in clinical practice, about 80% of women presenting with late-stage disease have a 5-year survival rate of only 30%. In the last years a growing scientific knowledge about the molecular pathways involved in ovarian carcinogenesis has led to the discovery and evaluation of several novel molecular targeted agents, with the aim to test alternative models of treatment in order to overcome the clinical problem of resistance. Cancer stem cells tend to be more resistant to chemotherapeutic agents and radiation than more differentiated cellular subtypes from the same tissue. In this context the study of ovarian cancer stem cells is taking on an increasingly important strategic role, mostly for the potential therapeutic application in the next future. In our review, we focused our attention on the molecular characteristics of epithelial ovarian cancer stem cells, in particular on possible targets to hit with targeted therapies.

1 August 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research

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