About this Research Topic
Recent scientific advances have led to the improved survival rates of cancer patients; nevertheless, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, highlighting the necessity to develop better therapeutic approaches.
Cellular plasticity is an emerging capability of cancer cells, enabling them to adapt to constant changes and stresses during primary tumor progression, dissemination and colonization to distant organs, and in response to therapeutic interventions. There is an urgent need to dissect the underpinning signaling pathways of cellular plasticity, which will hopefully contribute to the future development of effective therapies.
Cancer plasticity is defined as the malignant cells' intrinsic ability to change cell fate and acquire a different identity. Typically, it can be manifested through: (a) dedifferentiation, during which cancer cells lose the expression of cell-type-specific genes and express progenitor/stem cell-like gene sets; and (b) transdifferentiation, also referred to as lineage plasticity or lineage infidelity, during which cancer cells express gene sets typically expressed in a different cell lineage, such as expression of neuronal genes by epithelial cancers during neuroendocrine transdifferentiation. The development of new techniques, such as CRISPR, single-cell RNA sequencing, and bioinformatic tools have enabled researchers to implicate cancer plasticity in different facets of cancer progression, such as tumor heterogeneity, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance.
In this thematic topic, we aim to:
1. Review the emerging role and underpinning mechanisms of cellular plasticity during the progression of various cancers.
2. Present novel techniques and tools that enable us to study cancer plasticity.
3. Publish original research articles related to cancer plasticity.
Please note: manuscripts consisting solely of bioinformatics or computational analysis of public genomic or transcriptomic databases which are not accompanied by validation (independent cohort or biological validation in vitro or in vivo) are out of scope for this section and will not be accepted as part of this Research Topic.
Keywords: Cancer, plasticity, dissemination, cell fate, stem cell, differentiation, heterogeneity, tumour progression, colonization, metastasis, single-cell sequencing
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