Research Papers:

Cancer stemness and metastatic potential of the novel tumor cell line K3: an inner mutated cell of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Hui Qian, Xiaoqing Ding, Jiao Zhang, Fei Mao, Zixuan Sun, Haoyuan Jia, Lei Yin, Mei Wang, Xu Zhang, Bin Zhang, Yongmin Yan, Wei Zhu and Wenrong Xu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:39522-39533. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17133

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Hui Qian1,*, Xiaoqing Ding2,*, Jiao Zhang1,*, Fei Mao1, Zixuan Sun1, Haoyuan Jia1, Lei Yin1, Mei Wang1, Xu Zhang1, Bin Zhang1, Yongmin Yan1, Wei Zhu1 and Wenrong Xu1

1Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Medical Science and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, P. R. China

2Faculty of Medical Laboratory Science, Rui-Jin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, P. R. China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Wenrong Xu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: mesenchymal stem cell, side population cells, cancer stem cell, metastasis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Received: August 20, 2016    Accepted: February 20, 2017    Published: April 17, 2017


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transplantation has been used for therapeutic applications in various diseases. Here we report MSCs can malignantly transform in vivo. The novel neoplasm was found on the tail of female rat after injection with male rat bone marrow-derived MSCs (rBM-MSCs) and the new tumor cell line, K3, was isolated from the neoplasm. The K3 cells expressed surface antigens and pluripotent genes similar to those of rBM-MSCs and presented tumor cell features. Moreover, the K3 cells contained side population cells (SP) like cancer stem cells (CSCs), which might contribute to K3 heterogeneity and tumorigenic capacity. To investigate the metastatic potential of K3 cells, we established the nude mouse models of liver and lung metastases and isolated the corresponding metastatic cell lines K3-F4 and K3-B6. Both K3-F4 and K3-B6 cell lines with higher metastatic potential acquired more mesenchymal and stemness-related features. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition is a potential mechanism of K3-F4 and K3-B6 formation.

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