Although early stage disease detection and treatment options for clear cell renal cell cancer (ccRCC) improved in recent years, prognosis of patients with late stage ccRCC remains poor, mostly due to development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors resistance followed by disease progression. Cancer stem cells (ccRCC-CSC) model has focused a significant attention in recent years as a potential explanation for the tumor heterogeneity, drug resistance, disease recurrence and metastasis of ccRCC and other cancers. Cancer stem cells have been proposed to be responsible for tumor initiation, repopulation and growth that cause patients to succumb to renal cancer. Precise identification of ccRCC-CSC populations and definition of hierarchy of cells within ccRCC tumor including tumor initiating cells and tumor progenitor cells will facilitate accurate characterization of drug targets and ultimately contribute to more personalized and effective care. This mini-review discusses the potential strategies to inhibit the signaling pathways underlying stemness in an effort to treat renal cancer. Mechanism that could be exploited as a therapeutic target against drug resistant ccRCC-CSCs are summarized.
Department of Oncology with Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Military Institute of Medicine, Warsaw, Poland.