Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) and Radiation Response: Current Views and Future Perspectives in Radiation Oncology

Given the rate of scientific advances over the past 20 years, it is difficult for practicing radiation oncologists to stay abreast of the latest drugs, their targets and mechanisms of action. Improving scientific literacy by focusing on clinically relevant mechanisms such as discussed in this activity focused on cancer stem cells will help clinicians stay abreast of cutting-edge research, understand drugs targeting this population and better categorize the situations where these drugs may be helpful. Furthermore, by understanding how drugs targeting CSC interact with radiation, clinical radiation oncologists can better advise their medical oncology colleagues on the safety of administering them concurrently with radiation. 

The cancer stem cell hypothesis was first proposed more than 100 years ago, and for the last 20 years the study of cancer stem cells (CSCs) has emerged as an area of intense interest after the first identification of CSCs in solid tumors. CSCs are a subpopulation of cancer cells that possess the ability to self-renew, repopulate after sublethal therapy and differentiate into multiple cell types. They are believed to be responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer, as well as the resistance to therapy. CSCs are known to be resistant to radiation therapy due to their ability to repair DNA damage, activate survival pathways, and form a protective niche. However, researchers are investigating ways to overcome these challenges and target CSCs in order to improve the effectiveness of radiation treatment. The goal of this activity is to review current understanding of CSCs, how they interact with the tumor microenvironment, contribute to tumor resistance to therapy, recurrence and metastasis as well as review strategies to target this population in a variety of cancer types. 

Topics:

  1. Introductions
    Eileen P. Connolly, MD, PhD
  2. Overview of Cancer Stem Cells: What We Have Learned in the Past 20+ Years
    Frank Pajonk, MD, PhD
  3. Survival of the Fittest: Glioma Stem Cell Maintenance in Different Tumor Niches
    Jennifer S. Yu, MD, PhD
  4. The Role of Stemness in the Tumor Microenvironment and Therapy Resistance
    Yi Fan, MD, PhD
  5. Q and A
    Full Panel

This activity is available from June 25, 2024, through 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 24, 2026. 

This activity was originally recorded at the 2023 ASTRO Annual Meeting.

Target Audience

The activity is designed to meet the interests of radiation oncologists, physicists, radiation biologists, residents and cancer biologists.   

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the role of the cancer stem cells in tumor resistance to both chemo and radiation therapy.
  • Understand how CSC interact with the immune system and tumor microenvironment to promote therapy resistance.   
  • Discuss the potential novel approaches to sensitize CSCs to radiation therapy and other systemic therapies, such as immunotherapy to improve therapeutic outcomes. 
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
    The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education for physicians. ASTRO designates this Enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • 1.00 Certificate of Attendance
    This activity was designated for 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.
Course opens: 
06/25/2024
Course expires: 
06/24/2026
Cost:
$0.00
Rating: 
0
  • Eileen P. Connolly, MD, PhD, is employed by Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Connolly receives grant/research funding from Merck, the Hope Foundation and Eisai. Dr. Connolly owns stock in BMS, Pfizer and PMV Pharma. 
  • Frank Pajonk, MD, PhD, is employed by University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Pajonk receives grant/research funding from the NIH. Dr. Pajonk owns stock in Chimerix, Inc. 
  • Jennifer S. Yu, MD, PhD, is employed by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Dr. Yu receives grant/research funding from the NIH, Department of Defense, Falk Medical Trust, VeloSano, Cleveland Clinic and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Yu owns stock in Abbvie and Medtronic. Dr. Yu is an Associate Editor for the following journals: International Journal of Hyperthermia, Molecular Carcinogenesis, and Frontiers in Oncology. Dr. Yu serves on the advisory board of the American Brain Tumor Association.  
  • Yi Fan, MD, PhD, is employed by University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Fan is the co-founder and has a partnership with Radix Therapeutics.

The person(s) above served as the developer(s) of this activity. Additionally, the Education Committee had control over the content of this activity. All relevant relationships have been mitigated.

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is accredited by the Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing education to physicians.

ASTRO is awarded Deemed Status by the American Board of Radiology to provide SA-CME as part of Part II Maintenance of Certification. 

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
    The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education for physicians. ASTRO designates this Enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • 1.00 Certificate of Attendance
    This activity was designated for 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Price

Cost:
$0.00
Please login or register to take this course.

Course Fees:
ASTRO members must log in to the ASTRO website to view and receive the member rate.

Nonmember: $149
Member: $99
Member-in-training: $49
Student/Grad Student/PGY: $49
Postdoctoral Fellow: $49
 

Policies:
No refunds, extensions, or substitutions will be made for those participants who, for any reason, have not completed the course by the end of the qualification date. The qualification date for each course is listed in the course catalog on the ASTRO website under availability.

Participants using ASTRO's online courses to satisfy the requirement of a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program should verify the number, type and availability dates of any course before making a purchase. No refunds, extensions, or substitutions will be made for participants who have purchased courses that do not align with their MOC requirement.

The course and its materials will only be available on the ASTRO website until June 24, 2026, regardless of purchase date. At the expiration of the qualification, participants will no longer have access to the course or its materials. ASTRO reserves the right to remove a course before the end of its qualification period.

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