Cancer stem cells as a potential therapeutic target in thyroid carcinoma (Review)

Luisa Vicari, Cristina Colarossi, Dario Giuffrida, Ruggero De Maria, Lorenzo Memeo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A number of studies have indicated that tumor growth and proliferation is dependent on a small subset of cells, defined as cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs have the capability to self-renew, and are involved with cancer propagation, relapse and metastatic dissemination. CSCs have been isolated from numerous tissues, including normal and cancerous thyroid tissue. A regulatory network of signaling pathways and microRNAs (miRNAs) control the properties of CSCs. Differentiated thyroid carcinoma is the most common type of endocrine cancer, with an increasing incidence. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is the most rare type of endocrine cancer; however, it also exhibits the highest mortality rate among thyroid malignancies, with an extremely short survival time. Thyroid CSCs are invasive and highly resistant to conventional therapies, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which results in disease relapse even when the primary lesion has been eradicated. Therefore, targeting thyroid CSCs may represent an effective treatment strategy against aggressive neoplasms, including recurrent and radioresistant tumors. The present review summarizes the current literature regarding thyroid CSCs and discusses therapeutic strategies that target these cells, with a focus on the function of self-renewal pathways and miRNAs. Elucidation of the mechanisms that regulate CSC growth and survival may improve novel therapeutic approaches for treatment-resistant thyroid cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2254-2260
Number of pages7
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Effective strategies
  • Thyroid cancer stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Cancer stem cells as a potential therapeutic target in thyroid carcinoma (Review)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this