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Destroying the Shield of Cancer Stem Cells: Natural Compounds as Promising Players in Cancer Therapy

  • Autori: Iacono, Melania Lo; Gaggianesi, Miriam; Bianca, Paola; Brancato, Ornella Roberta; Muratore, Giampaolo; Modica, Chiara; Roozafzay, Narges; Shams, Kimiya; Colarossi, Lorenzo; Colarossi, Cristina; Memeo, Lorenzo; Turdo, Alice; Veschi, Veronica; Franco, Simone Di; Todaro, Matilde; Stassi, Giorgio
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Review essay (rassegna critica)
  • OA Link:


In a scenario where eco-sustainability and areduction in chemotherapeutic drug waste are certainly a prerogative to safeguard the biosphere, the use of natural products (NPs) represents an alternative therapeutic approach to counteract cancer diseases. The presence of a heterogeneous cancer stem cell (CSC) population within a tumor bulk is related to disease recurrence and therapy resistance. For this reason, CSC targeting presents a promising strategy for hampering cancer recurrence. Increasing evidence shows that NPs can inhibit crucial signaling pathways involved in the maintenance of CSC stemness and sensitize CSCs to standard chemotherapeutic treatments. Moreover, their limited toxicity and low costs for large-scale production could accelerate the use of NPs in clinical settings. In this review, we will summarize the most relevant studies regarding the effects of NPs derived from major natural sources, e.g., food, botanical, and marine species, on CSCs, elucidating their use in pre-clinical and clinical studies.