Research Papers:

Evidence of drug-response heterogeneity rapidly generated from a single cancer cell

Rong Wang, Chengmeng Jin and Xun Hu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:41113-41124. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17064

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Rong Wang1,*, Chengmeng Jin1,* and Xun Hu1

1Cancer Institute, A Key Laboratory For Cancer Prevention & Intervention, Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Xun Hu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: heterogeneity, cancer, drug-response

Received: November 04, 2016    Accepted: March 07, 2017    Published: April 12, 2017


One cancer cell line is believed to be composed of numerous clones with different drug sensitivity. We sought to investigate the difference of drug-response pattern in clones from a cell line or from a single cell. We showed that 22 clones derived from 4T1 cells were drastically different from each other with respect to drug-response pattern against 11 anticancer drugs and expression profile of 19 genes associated with drug resistance or sensitivity. Similar results were obtained using daughter clones derived from a single 4T1 cell. Each daughter clone showed distinct drug-response pattern and gene expression profile. Similar results were also obtained using Bcap37 cells. We conclude that a single cancer cell can rapidly produce a population of cells with high heterogeneity of drug response and the acquisition of drug-response heterogeneity is random.

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PII: 17064