Vol 37(2021) N 6 p. 5-13; DOI 10.21519/0234-2758-2021-37-6-5-13
A.A. Poloznikov1,2*, S.V. Nikulin1,2, and B.YA. Alekseev1

Dormant Cancer Cells: Molecular Features, in vitro Models, and Identification Methods

1P. Hertsen Moscow Oncology Research Institute, National Medical Research Radiological Centre, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 125284, Russia
2Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Higher School of Economics National Research University, Moscow, 101000, Russia

Received - 21.10.2021; Accepted - 12.11.2021


Oncological diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the Russian Federation. For instance, 640,391 cases of malignant neoplasms were detected for the first time in the Russian Federation in 2019. This is a 2.5% increase in comparison with 2018. The total number of cancer patients also grew, from 3,762,218 in 2018 to 3,928,338 at the end of 2019. The main cause of high mortality in cancer is the occurrence of metastases. For the most common solid tumors (prostate, lung, colon, kidney, melanoma), foci of metastatic lesions can be detected long after treatment and removal of the primary tumor. The most prominent example is hormone-dependent breast cancer, in which the risk of recurrence continues to rise steadily for 15 years after the completion of a 5-year adjuvant therapy. This observation formed the basis for the concept of dormancy of cancer cells. The presence of dormant cancer cells in the body is associated with relapse, metastasis, and poor clinical outcome, suggesting that these cells may play a crucial role in disease recurrence. A study of the phenotypic features of dormant cancer cells is a key area in tumor biology and understanding the mechanisms of their drug resistance may help prevent cancer recurrence. In this work, we have reviewed currently available data on the features of dormant cancer cells, methods of their identification and laboratory models used to study them.

dormant cancer cells, recurrence, in vitro models, organoids

The work was financially supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 19-15-00397).