Enhancement of cancer stem cell susceptibility to conventional treatments through complementary yoga therapy: possible cellular and molecular mechanisms
Journal of Stem Cells
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2012
Pages: 261 - 267
Source ID: shanti-sources-40841
Collection: Yoga-Based Interventions for Cancer Treatment
Abstract: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are stem-like tumor populations that are reported to contribute towards tumor growth, maintenance and recurrence after therapy. Hypoxia increases CSC fraction and promotes acquisition of a stem-cell-like state. Cancer stem cells are critically dependant on the hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) for survival, self-renewal, tumor growth and maintenance of their undifferentiated phenotype. Recent researches show that stage of differentiation of the tumor cells is predictive of their susceptibility to natural killer cell (NK) cell mediated cytotoxicity and cancer stem cells are significant targets of NK cell cytotoxicity. Studies also show that reversion of tumor cells to a less-differentiated phenotype can be achieved by blocking NFκB. Yoga therapy (yogic lifestyle modifications encompassing physical postures, breathing practices, relaxation techniques and meditations) is known to modulate neural, endocrine and immune functions at the cellular level through influencing cell cycle control, aging, oxidative stress, apoptosis and several pathways of stress signaling molecules. Yoga therapy has also been shown to enhance natural killer cell activity and modulate stress and DNA damage in breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy. Recent study found that brief daily yogic meditation may reverse the pattern of increased NFκB-related transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines in leukocytes. Thus, yoga therapy has the potential to reduce cancer stem cell survival, self -renewal and tumor growth by modifying the tumor micro-environment through various mechanisms such as; 1) reducing HIF-1 activity by enhanced oxygenation, 2) promoting NK cell activity directly (or indirectly through down regulating NFκB expression), thereby enhancing NK cell mediated CSC lysis, and 3) by minimizing the aberrant expressions or activities of various hormones, cytokines, chemokines and tumor signaling pathways. Yoga therapy may have a synergistic effect with conventional modalities of treatment in preventing cancer progression and recurrences.