Biomarkers and targeted therapy for cancer stem cells

Yusheng Liu, Hua Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a small subpopulation of cancer cells with capabilities of self-renewal, differentiation, and tumorigenicity, and play a critical role in driving tumor heterogeneity that evolves insensitivity to therapeutics. For these reasons, extensive efforts have been made to identify and target CSCs to potentially improve the antitumor efficacy of therapeutics. While progress has been made to uncover certain CSC-associated biomarkers, the identification of CSC-specific markers, especially the targetable ones, remains a significant challenge. Here we provide an overview of the unique signaling and metabolic pathways of CSCs, summarize existing CSC biomarkers and CSC-targeted therapies, and discuss strategies to further differentiate CSCs from non-stem cancer cells and healthy cells for the development of enhanced CSC-targeted therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • biomarker
  • cancer
  • cancer stem cell
  • cell targeting
  • metabolic labeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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