Ovarian cancer stem cells are enriched in side population and aldehyde dehydrogenase bright overlapping population

Kazuyo Yasuda, Toshihiko Torigoe, Rena Morita, Takahumi Kuroda, Akari Takahashi, Junichi Matsuzaki, Vitaly Kochin, Hiroko Asanuma, Tadashi Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi Saito, Yoshihiko Hirohashi, Noriyuki Sato
PloS One 2013, 8 (8): e68187
Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs)/cancer-initiaiting cells (CICs) are defined as a small population of cancer cells that have self-renewal capacity, differentiation potential and high tumor-initiating ability. CSCs/CICs of ovarian cancer have been isolated by side population (SP) analysis, ALDEFLUOR assay and using cell surface markers. However, these approaches are not definitive markers for CSCs/CICs, and it is necessary to refine recent methods for identifying more highly purified CSCs/CICs. In this study, we analyzed SP cells and aldehyde dehydrogenese bright (ALDH(Br)) cells from ovarian cancer cells. Both SP cells and ALDH(Br) cells exhibited higher tumor-initiating ability and higher expression level of a stem cell marker, sex determining region Y-box 2 (SOX2), than those of main population (MP) cells and ALDH(Low) cells, respectively. We analyzed an SP and ALDH(Br) overlapping population (SP/ALDH(Br)), and the SP/ALDH(Br) population exhibited higher tumor-initiating ability than that of SP cells or ALDH(Br) cells, enabling initiation of tumor with as few as 10(2) cells. Furthermore, SP/ADLH(Br) population showed higher sphere-forming ability, cisplatin resistance, adipocyte differentiation ability and expression of SOX2 than those of SP/ALDH(Low), MP/ALDH(Br) and MP/ALDH(Low) cells. Gene knockdown of SOX2 suppressed the tumor-initiation of ovarian cancer cells. An SP/ALDH(Br) population was detected in several gynecological cancer cells with ratios of 0.1% for HEC-1 endometrioid adenocarcinoma cells to 1% for MCAS ovary mucinous adenocarcinoma cells. Taken together, use of the SP and ALDH(Br) overlapping population is a promising approach to isolate highly purified CSCs/CICs and SOX2 might be a novel functional marker for ovarian CSCs/CICs.

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