Sphere-forming-like cells (squamospheres) with cancer stem-like cell traits from VX2 rabbit buccal squamous cell carcinoma

Yuk-Kwan Chen, Anderson Hsien-Cheng Huang, Li-Min Lin
International Journal of Oral Science 2014, 6 (4): 212-8
Previous studies have demonstrated that spheroid type cells grown under suspension culture conditions have cancer stem cell (CSC) traits in a number of cancers, but this phenomenon has not yet been reported in the VX2 rabbit oral cancer model. Hence, this study aimed to study the spheroid cells from VX2 rabbit buccal squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and assess their CSC characteristics. Five adult male New Zealand white outbred rabbits were used to generate VX2 rabbit buccal SCC. Sphere-forming cell culture was performed for the VX2 rabbit buccal SCC specimens. The self-renewal capability; cluster of designation (CD) 44, CD133, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1), B cell-specific Moloney murine leukemia virus integration site 1 (Bmi-1), Nestin, octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct4) and reduced expression protein-1 (Rex-1) expression with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR); chemoresistance to cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil; and in vivo tumorigenicity of spheroid cell transplantation in nude mice were evaluated to determine the CSC characteristics of the resulting spheroid cells. We successfully obtained spheroid cells from the VX2 rabbit OSCC tissues. The spheroid cells exhibited CSC traits, including the expression of CSC and stem cell markers (CD44, Bmi-1, Nestin, Oct4 and Rex-1), capacity to generate new spheroid colonies within 1 week of reseeding from single-dissociated spheroid cells, chemoresistance capacity and generation of tumour xenografts (with histological features resembling those of the original VX2 rabbit buccal SCC) from the transplantation of 10(3) undifferentiated spheroid cells into nude mice. In summary, we demonstrated that spheroid cells with CSC cell traits can be derived from VX2 rabbit buccal SCCs, indicating that this animal cancer model is applicable for studying CSCs in human oral cancers.

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