Tumor initiating cells: development and critical characterization of a model derived from the A431 carcinoma cell line forming spheres in suspension

Ileana Bortolomai, Silvana Canevari, Ileana Facetti, Loris De Cecco, Giancarlo Castellano, Alberto Zacchetti, Malcolm R Alison, Silvia Miotti
Cell Cycle 2010 March 15, 9 (6): 1194-206
To investigate the tumor fraction with cancer stem/tumor initiating cell (CSC/TIC) characteristics, we tested the human cervical carcinoma cell lines A431, Caski and SiHa, by growth as non-adherent spheres in specific media and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) enzymatic activity. A good correlation between the two parameters was observed and the highest levels were observed in A431 cell line that was selected for characterization of the CSC/TIC fraction. A431 parental cells already displayed characteristics common to CSC/TIC, such as sphere forming efficiency, adherent holoclone formation and high ALDH activity. Non-adherent spheres maintained or increased these properties, and, in particular, ALDH-positive fraction increased from 46 to 65% and a transient induction of stem cell markers such as Nanog, Nestin and Oct4 was observed. Furthermore, a significant increase of paraclone forming cells was observed, suggesting that differentiation took place inside sphere cell populations. As compared to parental cells, spheres were characterized by: (1) a ten-fold higher verapamil-sensitive side population fraction; (2) the appearance of a podoplanin-positive subpopulation characterized by a small cell size; (3) the ability to propagate tumors in nude mice at a lower cell dose. The global gene expression analysis demonstrated a strong and reversible modulation of 'sphere' phenotype in comparison to parental and sphere cells re-induced to adherent conditions. All together our results indicated that the growth of A431 cells as a non-adherent sphere was not sufficient by itself to define a stem-like population, but it was essential for the emergence of a small population of tumor cells with CSC properties.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"