Regulation of intestinal cancer stem cells.
Colorectal tumours harbour a sub-population of cells with stem like properties termed 'cancer stem cells', which are believed to ultimately drive cancer growth. This review discusses recent advances in our understanding of both normal and cancer intestinal stem cells, with emphasis on similarities and differences. Specifically we discuss the role of the Wnt, Notch and BMP pathways and their roles in both stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Furthermore we discuss the emerging role of microRNA and the influence of environmental factors such as tumour associated myofibroblasts and hypoxia on cancer stem cell regulation.