Following its discovery as a cancer stem cell marker, CD133 has been widely studied for its role in colorectal tumorigenesis. Indeed, colon cancer remains one of the major causes of cancer-related disease and death worldwide, and there is a strong need for an improvement of current diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic strategies. Thus, efforts have been devoted to try to understand whether CD133 might play a role in human colorectal tumorigenesis and might contribute to a better management of colon cancer patients. This chapter reviews the current knowledge on CD133 expression in normal and cancer colon tissues, both in humans and mice, discussing apparently conflicting data reported in the two species. Moreover, a great attention is devoted to the available information regarding the functional role of CD133 in colon cancer cells. Finally, the proposed clinical applications of CD133, as a prognostic and/or predictive marker as well as a target for novel antineoplastic strategies in colorectal cancer, are discussed. Overall, the available data support a potential important role of CD133 as cancer stem cell marker in colon cancer cells and warrant future studies to verify its potential use in the routine clinical management of colon cancer patients.
- colon cancer
- stem cells