Functional sphere profiling reveals the complexity of neuroblastoma tumor-initiating cell model

Aurélie Coulon, Marjorie Flahaut, Annick Mühlethaler-Mottet, Roland Meier, Julie Liberman, Katia Balmas-Bourloud, Katya Nardou, Pu Yan, Stéphane Tercier, Jean-Marc Joseph, Lukas Sommer, Nicole Gross
Neoplasia: An International Journal for Oncology Research 2011, 13 (10): 991-1004
Neuroblastoma (NB) is a neural crest-derived childhood tumor characterized by a remarkable phenotypic diversity, ranging from spontaneous regression to fatal metastatic disease. Although the cancer stem cell (CSC) model provides a trail to characterize the cells responsible for tumor onset, the NB tumor-initiating cell (TIC) has not been identified. In this study, the relevance of the CSC model in NB was investigated by taking advantage of typical functional stem cell characteristics. A predictive association was established between self-renewal, as assessed by serial sphere formation, and clinical aggressiveness in primary tumors. Moreover, cell subsets gradually selected during serial sphere culture harbored increased in vivo tumorigenicity, only highlighted in an orthotopic microenvironment. A microarray time course analysis of serial spheres passages from metastatic cells allowed us to specifically "profile" the NB stem cell-like phenotype and to identify CD133, ABC transporter, and WNT and NOTCH genes as spheres markers. On the basis of combined sphere markers expression, at least two distinct tumorigenic cell subpopulations were identified, also shown to preexist in primary NB. However, sphere markers-mediated cell sorting of parental tumor failed to recapitulate the TIC phenotype in the orthotopic model, highlighting the complexity of the CSC model. Our data support the NB stem-like cells as a dynamic and heterogeneous cell population strongly dependent on microenvironmental signals and add novel candidate genes as potential therapeutic targets in the control of high-risk NB.

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"