Breast cancer adaptive resistance: HER2 and cancer stem cell repopulation in a heterogeneous tumor society

Nadire Duru, Demet Candas, Guochun Jiang, Jian-Jian Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: The lethal effects of cancer are associated with the enhanced tumor aggressiveness in recurrent and metastatic lesions that show resistant phenotype to anti-cancer therapy, a major barrier to improving overall survival of cancer patients. The presence of heterogeneous populations of cancer cells within a specific tumor including the tumor-initiating cells or so-called cancer stem cells (CSCs) has linked the acquired resistance (AR, or adaptive resistance). Herein, we discuss the CSC-mediated tumor repopulation in AR of breast cancer in this review. Methods: We emphasize a dynamic feature of gene induction in tumor cells that undergo long-term treatment, and describe a specific HER2-NF-κB-HER2 pro-survival pathway that can be initiated in breast CSCs upon radiation therapy. Results: Elucidation of HER2-induced pro-survival networks, specifically the force driving tumor repopulation due to radioresistant CSCs during anticancer therapies, will have a significant impact on the generation of new diagnostic and therapeutic targets to control of recurrent and metastatic breast tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014



  • Breast cancer stem cells
  • HER2
  • NF-κB
  • STAT3
  • Tumor-acquired resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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