Cytokine networks and cancer stem cells
chapterposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Clifford LiongueClifford Liongue, Alister WardAlister Ward, Wei DuanWei Duan, Sarah ShigdarSarah Shigdar
Cell-to-cell communication is an integral function of multicellular organisms. Many of these signals are received by a myriad of cell-surface receptors that utilize a range of intracellular signaling pathways to communicate this to the nucleus, rapidly impacting on the transcription of target genes in order to elicit the desired response, such as proliferation, differentiation, activation, and survival. Dysregulation of these important signaling pathways, and networks, often lead to pathological conditions due to inappropriate cell responses with negative consequences. The aberrant signaling pathways have been associated with many diseases, including cancer. Cytokines and chemokines convey a multitude of messages to the target cell, many of which are beneficial for cancers and cancer stem cells, such as proliferation, survival and migration. By hijacking this communication network, cancers and cancer stem cells can become invasive and more pathogenic. Furthermore, by using these communication systems, cancer stem cells are able to evade current therapies. Therefore, novel therapies may be developed to break the communication systems of the cancer stem cells. This chapter explores the role of the cytokines TGF-β, TNF-α, IL-1 and IL-6 and chemokine CXCL8 as well as NF-κB and their role in cancer stem cell survival and maintenance. Emerging therapies are beginning to target the cancer stem cell population, either specifically or synergistically with existing therapeutic options. These novel therapies may hold the key to breaking the communication network of cancer stem cells.