Research Papers:

Comparison of tumor biology of two distinct cell sub-populations in lung cancer stem cells

Jianyu Wang, Zhiwei Sun, Yongli Liu, Liangsheng Kong, Shixia Zhou, Junlin Tang and Hongmei Rosie Xing _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:96852-96864. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18451

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Jianyu Wang1, Zhiwei Sun1, Yongli Liu1, Liangsheng Kong1, Shixia Zhou1, Junlin Tang1 and Hongmei Rosie Xing1

1Laboratory of Translational Cancer Stem Cell Research, Institute of Life Sciences, Chong Qing Medical University, Chongqing, China

Correspondence to:

Hongmei Rosie Xing, email: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer stem cells, symmetric division, asymmetric division, lung, BrdU

Received: March 13, 2017     Accepted: May 22, 2017     Published: June 13, 2017


Characterization of the stem-like properties of cancer stem cells (CSCs) remain indirect and qualitative, especially the ability of CSCs to undergo asymmetric cell division for self renewal and differentiation, a unique property of cells of stem origin. It is partly due to the lack of stable cellular models of CSCs. In this study, we developed a new approach for CSC isolation and purification to derive a CSC-enriched cell line (LLC-SE). By conducting five consecutive rounds of single cell cloning using the LLC-SE cell line, we obtained two distinct sub-population of cells within the Lewis lung cancer CSCs that employed largely symmetric division for self-renewal (LLC-SD) or underwent asymmetric division for differentiation (LLC-ASD). LLC-SD and LLC-ASD cell lines could be stably passaged in culture and be distinguished by cell morphology, stem cell marker, spheroid formation and subcutaneous tumor initiation efficiency, as well as orthotopic lung tumor growth, progression and survival. The ability LLC-ASD cells to undergo asymmetric division was visualized and quantified by the asymmetric segregation of labeled BrdU and NUMB to one of the two daughter cells in anaphase cell division. The more stem-like LLC-SD cells exhibited higher capacity for tumorigenesis and progression and shorter survival. As few as 10 LLC-SD could initiate subcutaneous tumor growth when transplanted to the athymic mice. Collectively, these observations suggest that the SD-type of cells appear to be on the top of the hierarchical order of the CSCs. Furthermore, they have lead to generated cellular models of CSC self-renewal for future mechanistic investigations.

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