Affiliation: The Affiliated Hospital of Hangzhou Normal University, NO.126, WenzhouRoad, Hangzhou 310015, Zhejiang Province, China.
Cancer stem cells are a subset of cells that are responsible for cancer initiation and relapse. They are generally resistant to the current anticancer agents. Successful anticancer therapy must consist of approaches that can target not only the differentiated cancer cells, but also cancer stem cells. Emerging evidence suggested that the dietary agent curcumin exerted its anti-cancer activities via targeting cancer stem cells of various origins such as those of colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, brain cancer, and head and neck cancer. In order to enhance the therapeutic potential of curcumin, this agent has been modified or used in combination with other agents in the experimental therapy for many cancers. In this mini-review, we discussed the effect of curcumin and its derivatives in eliminating cancer stem cells and the possible underlying mechanisms.