Research Papers:

Enhanced autophagy in colorectal cancer stem cells does not contribute to radio-resistance

Chen Yan _, Lan Luo, Shinji Goto, Yoshishige Urata, Chang-Ying Guo, Hanako Doi, Kaio Kitazato and Tao-Sheng Li

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:45112-45121. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8972

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Chen Yan1, Lan Luo1, Shinji Goto1, Yoshishige Urata1, Chang-Ying Guo1,2, Hanako Doi1, Kaio Kitazato3, Tao-Sheng Li1

1Department of Stem Cell Biology, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki, Japan

2Department of Thoracic Surgery, Jiangxi Cancer Hospital, Nanchang, PR China

3Division of Molecular Pharmacology of Infectious Agents, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan

Correspondence to:

Tao-Sheng Li, e-mail: [email protected]

Kaio Kitazato, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer stem cells, autophagy, radio-resistance

Received: November 07, 2015     Accepted: April 11, 2016     Published: April 25, 2016


Autophagy, an essential catabolic pathway of degrading cellular components within the lysosome, has been found to benefit the growth and therapeutic resistance of cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the role of autophagy in the radio-sensitivity of cancer stem cells. By separating CD44+/CD133+ cancer stem cells from parental HCT8 human colorectal cancer cells, we found a significantly higher level of autophagy in the CD44+/CD133+ cells than in the parental cells. Exposure to 5 Gy of γ-ray significantly damaged both CD44+/CD133+ cells and parental cells, but the radiation-induced damage did not differ between the groups. Unexpectedly, autophagy was not significantly induced by radiation exposure in the CD44+/CD133+ cells and parental cells. The inhibition of autophagy by the silencing of ATG7, a factor required for autophagy at the stage of autophagosome precursor synthesis, did not significantly change the growth and radiation-induced damage in both CD44+/CD133+ cells and parental cells. Although an enhanced basic level of autophagy was found in the CD44+/CD133+ cancer stem cells, our data suggest that the canonical autophagy in cancer cells plays few roles, if any, in radio-sensitivity.

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