Tumorsphere as an effective in vitro platform for screening anti-cancer stem cell drugs
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Che-Hsin Lee1,2, Cheng-Chia Yu3,4,5, Bing-Yen Wang6,7,8 and Wen-Wei Chang9,10
1 Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Science, School of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung City, Taiwan
2 Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung City, Taiwan
3 School of Dentistry, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung City, Taiwan
4 Department of Dentistry, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, Taichung City, Taiwan
5 Institute of Oral Sciences, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung City, Taiwan
6 Institute of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung City, Taiwan
7 Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, ChangHua Christian Hospital, ChangHua County, Taiwan
8 School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei City, Taiwan
9 School of Biomedical Sciences, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung City, Taiwan
10 Department of Medical Research, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, Taichung City, Taiwan
Wen-Wei Chang, email:
Keywords: cancer stem cells, tumorsphere, targeting therapy, drug screening
Received: June 11, 2015 Accepted: October 14, 2015 Published: October 31, 2015
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a sub-population of cells within cancer tissues with tumor initiation, drug resistance and metastasis properties. CSCs also have been considered as the main cause of cancer recurrence. Targeting CSCs have been suggested as the key for successful treatment against cancer. Tumorsphere cultivation is based on culturing cancer cells onto ultralow attachment surface in serum-free media under the supplementation with growth factors such as epidermal growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor. Tumorsphere cultivation is widely used to analyze the self-renewal capability of CSCs and to enrich these cells from bulk cancer cells. This method also provides a reliable platform for screening potential anti-CSC agents. The in vitro anti-proliferation activity of potential agents selected from tumorsphere assay is more translatable into in vivo anti-tumorigenic activity compared with general monolayer culture. Tumorsphere assay can also measure the outcome of clinical trials for potential anti-cancer agents. In addition, tumorsphere assay may be a promising strategy in the innovation of future cancer therapeutica and may help in the screening of anti-cancer small-molecule chemicals.
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