Epithelial mesenchymal transition correlates with CD24+CD44+ and CD133+ cells in pancreatic cancer

Ye Zhang, Jishu Wei, Hui Wang, Xiaofeng Xue, Yong An, Dong Tang, Zhongxu Yuan, Feitong Wang, Junli Wu, Jingjing Zhang, Yi Miao
Oncology Reports 2012, 27 (5): 1599-605
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been linked to induction of a stem-cell like phenotype, characterized by altered cell surface marker expression and increased tumor formation. The aim of this study was to investigate whether EMT correlates with CD24+CD44+ and CD133+ cells in pancreatic cancer. The morphology of untreated and gemcitabine-treated SW1990 gemcitabine-resistant cells and normal SW1990 cells were compared. NF-κB p65 expression was knocked down using siRNA. Vimentin and E-cadherin expression were analyzed using western blotting, and CD24+CD44+, CD133+ cells were quantified by FACS. Additionally, immunohistochemistry of EMT-associated markers and stem cell-associated markers were performed in 41 cases of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. In SW1990 gemcitabine-resistant cells, gemcitabine induced a mesenchymal cell phenotype, expression of EMT-related molecular markers and increased CD24+CD44+ and CD133+ cells compared to untreated SW1990 gemcitabine-resistant and SW1990 cells. Knockdown of NF-κB p65 inhibited the ability of gemcitabine to increase the proportion of CD24+CD44+ or CD133+ cells and expression of EMT-related molecular markers. In human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, significant correlations were observed between expression of the EMT-associated markers vimentin and E-cadherin, and stem cell-associated markers CD24, CD133 and CD44. This study demonstrated that EMT correlated with CD24+CD44+ and CD133+ cells in pancreatic cancer. This study also suggests that EMT may induce cancer stem-like cells in pancreatic cancer, with different degrees of EMT probability inducing different proportions of CD24+CD44+ and CD133+ cells.

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