Journal of Cancer Stem Cell Research
Clinical advancement in cancer treatment has improved patient's outcome. Despite these advancements, cancer continues to remain a major clinical problem. However, treatment has been hindered by the ability of cancer to remain dormant for later resurgence. This review discusses dormant breast cancer (BC) with an emphasis on cancer stem cells (CSCs). BC cells (BCCs) have preference for the bone marrow (BM). We discuss how cells of the BM microenvironment such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and the hematopoietic supporting stroma interact with CSCs to support the latent or dormant phase of CSCs. The exchanges of small non-coding microRNAs between the CSCs and BM micro-environmental cells to induce cycling quiescence in CSCs are discussed. The article proposes the implications for treatments of BCCs and the challenges to target these cells in organs such as BM. Part of the challenges in this article include the similarity between the CSCs and the endogenous normal stem cells. The role of BM microenvironment with regards to oxygen levels and the ability to release cytokines as support of tumor growth is incorporated in the review.