Mitotic quiescence in hepatic cancer stem cells: An incognito mode



Hepatocellular carcinoma represents one of the most aggressive cancers with high recurrence rates. The high recurrence is a major problem in the management of this disease. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are often regarded as the basis of cancer recurrence. The anti-proliferative therapy kills the proliferating cells but induces mitotic quiescence in CSCs which remain as residual dormant CSCs. Later on, withdrawal of treatment reactivates the residual CSCs from dormancy to produce new cancer cells. The proliferation of these newly formed cancer cells initiates new tumor formation in the liver leading to tumor recurrence. HCC cells evade the immune surveillance via modulating the key immune cells by alpha feto-protein (AFP) secreted from CSCs or hepatic progenitor cells. This AFP mediated immune evasion assists in establishing new tumors by cancer cells in the liver. In this review, we will summarise the CSC mechanisms of recurrence, mitotic quiescence, dormancy and reactivation of CSCs, metastasis and immune evasion of hepatocellular carcinoma.