Accumulating evidences have demonstrated that the existence of breast cancer-initiating cells, which
drives the original tumorigenicity, local invasion and migration propensity of breast cancer. These cells, termed as
breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs), possess properties including self-renewal, multidirectional differentiation and
proliferative potential, and are believed to play important roles in the intrinsic drug resistance of breast cancer.
One of the reasons why BCBCs cause difficulties in breast cancer treating is that BCBCs can control both genetic
and non-genetic elements to keep their niches safe and sound, which allows BCSCs for constant self-renewal and
differentiation. Therapeutic strategies designed to target BCSCs may ultimately result in effective interventions
for the treatment of breast cancer. Novel strategies including nanomedicine, oncolytic virus therapy, immunotherapy
and induced differentiation therapy are emerging and proved to be efficient in anti-BCSCs therapy. In this
review, we summarized breast tumor biology and the current challenges of breast cancer therapies, focused on
breast cancer stem cells, and introduced promising therapeutic strategies targeting BCSCs.
Keywords: Breast cancer stem cells, immunotherapy, nanomedicine, oncolytic virus therapy, breast tumor, targeted therapy.
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