ABC Transporters: Maintenance of the Cancer Stem Cell Phenotype


  • Wei Zhang State Key Laboratory of Oncology in Southern China, Cancer Center, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510060, China
  • Li-Wu Fu State Key Laboratory of Oncology in Southern China, Cancer Center, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510060, China



ABC transporters, cancer stem-like cells (CSCs), multidrug resistance (MDR), self-renewal,pluripotency, side population (SP), tumorigenicity.


 The poor therapeutic response to anti-cancer treatment and inferior prognosis of carcinoma primarily result from cancer stem cells (CSCs), which initiate and maintain tumors. Recent studies have demonstrated that the molecular phenotype of CSCs mainly consists of multidrug resistance (MDR), self-renewal, multi-lineage differentiation potential (pluripotency) and tumorigenicity. Intriguingly, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) membrane transporters are highly expressed in CSCs compared to non-CSCs, and recent evidence has highlighted a link between ABC transporters and the CSC phenotype. Understanding the relationship between CSCs and ABC transporters is important as this could lead to the development of more efficacious treatment regimens. Thus, in this article, we will mainly review the relationships between ABC transporters and the phenotype of CSCs.


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How to Cite

Wei Zhang, & Li-Wu Fu. (2014). ABC Transporters: Maintenance of the Cancer Stem Cell Phenotype. Journal of Cancer Research Updates, 3(1), 1–10.