Research Papers:

TOP2Ahigh is the phenotype of recurrence and metastasis whereas TOP2Aneg cells represent cancer stem cells in prostate cancer

Xuefeng Li _, Yunying Liu, Wenqi Chen, Yuxiang Fang, Huiming Xu, HelenHe Zhu, Mingliang Chu, Wang Li, Guanglei Zhuang and Wei-Qiang Gao

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:9498-9513. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2411

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Xuefeng Li1, Yunying Liu2, Wenqi Chen3, Yuxiang Fang1, Huiming Xu1, Helen He Zhu1, Mingliang Chu1, Wang Li1, Guanglei Zhuang1, Wei-Qiang Gao1,2

1State Key Laboratory of Oncogenes and Related Genes, Renji-MedX Stem Cell Research Center, Ren Ji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200127, China

2School of Biomedical Engineering & Med-X Research Institute, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China

3Department of Neurology, The Sixth People's Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200240, China

Correspondence to:

Dr. Wei-Qiang Gao e-mail: [email protected]

Dr. Guanglei Zhuang e-mail: [email protected]

Key words: prostate cancer, cancer stem cells, TOP2A, recurrence and metastasis

Received: June 18, 2014     Accepted: August 28, 2014     Published: September 08, 2014


Recurrence and metastasis are the main causes of death for prostate cancer patients and cancer stem cells (CSCs) are proposed to play important roles in cancer recurrence and metastasis. It is generally thought that genes upregulated in recurrent/metastatic disease are likely biomarkers of CSCs. Hence we analyzed multiple microarray datasets on prostate tumor tissues to identify upregulated genes associated with cancer recurrence/metastasis, and tried to explore whether those genes were true biomarkers of prostate CSCs. Our results indicated that TOP2A was the most highly upregulated gene in recurrent/metastatic prostate cancer, and its high expression was positively correlated with poor prognosis in patients. Using a promoter reporter system, we unexpectedly discovered enrichment of CSCs in TOP2Aneg cells. Compared to TOP2Ahigh cells, TOP2Aneg cells formed spheres and tumors more efficiently, and became enriched in the presence of stresses. Analysis of cell divisions by time lapse imaging indicated that more slow-cycling cells were observed in TOP2Aneg cells while the proportion of abnormal divisions was higher in TOP2Ahigh cells. Our studies demonstrate that TOP2Ahigh is the phenotype of recurrence/metastasis but TOP2Aneg cells show slow cycling and have CSCs properties in prostate cancer, which has significant implications for prostate cancer therapy.

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