JOURNAL ARTICLE

Generation and characterisation of cisplatin-resistant non-small cell lung cancer cell lines displaying a stem-like signature

Martin P Barr, Steven G Gray, Andreas C Hoffmann, Ralf A Hilger, Juergen Thomale, John D O'Flaherty, Dean A Fennell, Derek Richard, John J O'Leary, Kenneth J O'Byrne
PloS One 2013, 8 (1): e54193
23349823

INTRODUCTION: Inherent and acquired cisplatin resistance reduces the effectiveness of this agent in the management of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying this process may result in the development of novel agents to enhance the sensitivity of cisplatin.

METHODS: An isogenic model of cisplatin resistance was generated in a panel of NSCLC cell lines (A549, SKMES-1, MOR, H460). Over a period of twelve months, cisplatin resistant (CisR) cell lines were derived from original, age-matched parent cells (PT) and subsequently characterized. Proliferation (MTT) and clonogenic survival assays (crystal violet) were carried out between PT and CisR cells. Cellular response to cisplatin-induced apoptosis and cell cycle distribution were examined by FACS analysis. A panel of cancer stem cell and pluripotent markers was examined in addition to the EMT proteins, c-Met and β-catenin. Cisplatin-DNA adduct formation, DNA damage (γH2AX) and cellular platinum uptake (ICP-MS) was also assessed.

RESULTS: Characterisation studies demonstrated a decreased proliferative capacity of lung tumour cells in response to cisplatin, increased resistance to cisplatin-induced cell death, accumulation of resistant cells in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle and enhanced clonogenic survival ability. Moreover, resistant cells displayed a putative stem-like signature with increased expression of CD133+/CD44+cells and increased ALDH activity relative to their corresponding parental cells. The stem cell markers, Nanog, Oct-4 and SOX-2, were significantly upregulated as were the EMT markers, c-Met and β-catenin. While resistant sublines demonstrated decreased uptake of cisplatin in response to treatment, reduced cisplatin-GpG DNA adduct formation and significantly decreased γH2AX foci were observed compared to parental cell lines.

CONCLUSION: Our results identified cisplatin resistant subpopulations of NSCLC cells with a putative stem-like signature, providing a further understanding of the cellular events associated with the cisplatin resistance phenotype in lung cancer.

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