Background: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a kind of common cancer in head and
neck. Its survival rate in five years is hovering at 50%-60%. Cancer stem cells play a key role
in the pathogenesis, development, recurrence and metastasis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Objective: To investigate the characteristics of nasopharyngeal carcinoma stem cells and to search
for agents that interfere with nasopharyngeal carcinoma stem cells, and to find the basis for the
treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Method: The information about nasopharyngeal cancer stem cells was collected from scientific
journals, books, theses and reports via academic libraries and electronic search. These
sources include Web of Science, SciFinder, Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, Splinker, ACS,
IEEE, Willy, CNKI, etc.
Result: It requires an increased understanding of the biomarkers of nasopharyngeal carcinoma
stem cells. CD44 and CD133 are generally accepted nasopharyngeal cancer stem cell
biomarkers, moreover ABCG2, ALDH1, CD24 may also be used as potential markers. Currently,
the intervention medicines targeting nasopharyngeal carcinoma stem cells or stem cell
markers are monomer compounds including celecoxib, AT13387, gefitinib, rapamycin, polyphenols,
parthenolide and salinomycin, as well as traditional Chinese medicine Qi-Boosting
Conclusion: Targeting the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma stem cells is an effective
method for the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. However, it is necessary to further
understand its characteristics and find more markers, so as to guide the clinical treatment.