Cancer stem cells (CSCs) represent a heterogeneous subpopulation of cancer cells within tumors. CSCs divide asymmetrically to generate daughter cells that either have CSC characteristics including self-renewal, or differentiation potential to form neoplastic cells which constitute most of the tumor. These characteristics suggest that the cells may play an important role in tumor initiation, and development of chemo-resistance. These characteristics are evident in the ability of CSCs to seed new tumors upon transplantation in experimental animal models. In this chapter, we describe the evidence around the role of CSCs in breast cancer. A brief overview of the methods and markers used to identify these cells is also provided. More importantly, we present the data regarding the signaling pathways that are implicated in the aggressiveness associated with CSCs. Lastly, we discuss the strategies that can be used for targeting these pathways for therapeutic purposes.
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