Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a minor population in bulk of tumour are implicated in relapse and resistance after therapeutic challenge. Therefore, targeting these cells is considered as promising strategies to tackle recurrence due to drug resistance for various cancers including epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Despite of possessing certain cancer specific mutations, CSCs bear exclusive self-renewal and differentiation abilities to form the heterogeneous lineages of tumor cells along with quiescence and other stem cell like properties.
Autophagy, the self-eating mechanism allows cancer cells to cope with stress (metabolic or genotoxic) induced by anticancer therapy. However, the role of autophagy in maintaining various properties of the CSCs is poorly understood. This project aims to understand various aspects of the functional contribution of autophagy in maintaining CSC homeostasis by using tumor spheroids isolated from recurrent and drug resistant patients AND by isolating CSCs from platinum-taxol resistant cells to assess the influence of MAPK-ERK and PI3K-AKT signalling pathways in regulation of Inhibitor of DNA binding/Differentiation (ID) transcriptional regulators that play a key role in maintaining the balance between self-renewal and differentiation.