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      Characterization and functional analysis of a slow cycling stem cell-like subpopulation in pancreas adenocarcinoma


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          Evidence suggests that multiple tumors, including pancreatic adenocarcinoma, display heterogeneity in parameters that are critical for tumor formation, progression and metastasis. Understanding heterogeneity in solid tumors is increasingly providing a plethora of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. In this study, a particular focus was put on identifying a subpopulation of stem cell-like, slow cycling tumor cells in a pancreas adenocarcinoma cell lines. Using a label retention technique a subpopulation of slow cycling cells (DiI+/SCC) was identified and further evaluated in the BxPC-3 and Panc03.27 cell lines. These slowly cycling cells managed to retain the lipophilic labeling dye DiI, while the bulk of the cells (>94%) did not. The DiI+/SCC population, showed only a partial overlap with the CSC markers CD24 +/CD44 +, CD133 + and ALDH but they survived chemotherapeutic treatment, and were able to recreate the initial heterogeneous tumor cell population. DiI+/SCCs exhibited an increased invasive potential as compared with their non-label retaining, faster cycling cells (DiI−/FCC). They also had increased tumorigenic potential and morphological changes resembling cells that have undergone an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Analysis of DiI+/SCC cells by real time PCR revealed a selective up-regulation of tell tale components of the Hedgehog/TGFβ pathways, as well as a down-regulation of EGFR, combined with a shift in crucial components implied in EMT. The presented findings offer an expanded mechanistic understanding that associates tumor initiating potential with cycling speed and EMT in pancreatic cancer cell lines.

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          The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10585-009-9260-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Identification of pancreatic cancer stem cells.

          Emerging evidence has suggested that the capability of a tumor to grow and propagate is dependent on a small subset of cells within a tumor, termed cancer stem cells. Although data have been provided to support this theory in human blood, brain, and breast cancers, the identity of pancreatic cancer stem cells has not been determined. Using a xenograft model in which primary human pancreatic adenocarcinomas were grown in immunocompromised mice, we identified a highly tumorigenic subpopulation of pancreatic cancer cells expressing the cell surface markers CD44, CD24, and epithelial-specific antigen (ESA). Pancreatic cancer cells with the CD44(+)CD24(+)ESA(+) phenotype (0.2-0.8% of pancreatic cancer cells) had a 100-fold increased tumorigenic potential compared with nontumorigenic cancer cells, with 50% of animals injected with as few as 100 CD44(+)CD24(+)ESA(+) cells forming tumors that were histologically indistinguishable from the human tumors from which they originated. The enhanced ability of CD44(+)CD24(+)ESA(+) pancreatic cancer cells to form tumors was confirmed in an orthotopic pancreatic tail injection model. The CD44(+)CD24(+)ESA(+) pancreatic cancer cells showed the stem cell properties of self-renewal, the ability to produce differentiated progeny, and increased expression of the developmental signaling molecule sonic hedgehog. Identification of pancreatic cancer stem cells and further elucidation of the signaling pathways that regulate their growth and survival may provide novel therapeutic approaches to treat pancreatic cancer, which is notoriously resistant to standard chemotherapy and radiation.
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            HEDGEHOG-GLI1 signaling regulates human glioma growth, cancer stem cell self-renewal, and tumorigenicity.

            Cancer stem cells are rare tumor cells characterized by their ability to self-renew and to induce tumorigenesis. They are present in gliomas and may be responsible for the lethality of these incurable brain tumors. In the most aggressive and invasive type, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an average of about one year spans the period between detection and death [1]. The resistence of gliomas to current therapies may be related to the existence of cancer stem cells [2-6]. We find that human gliomas display a stemness signature and demonstrate that HEDGEHOG (HH)-GLI signaling regulates the expression of stemness genes in and the self-renewal of CD133(+) glioma cancer stem cells. HH-GLI signaling is also required for sustained glioma growth and survival. It displays additive and synergistic effects with temozolomide (TMZ), the current chemotherapeutic agent of choice. TMZ, however, does not block glioma stem cell self-renewal. Finally, interference of HH-GLI signaling with cyclopamine or through lentiviral-mediated silencing demonstrates that the tumorigenicity of human gliomas in mice requires an active pathway. Our results reveal the essential role of HH-GLI signaling in controlling the behavior of human glioma cancer stem cells and offer new therapeutic possibilities.
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              Induction of sonic hedgehog mediators by transforming growth factor-beta: Smad3-dependent activation of Gli2 and Gli1 expression in vitro and in vivo.

              Hedgehog (Hh) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) family members are involved in numerous overlapping processes during embryonic development, hair cycle, and cancer. Herein, we show that TGF-beta induces the expression of the Hh signaling molecules Gli1 and Gli2 in various human cell types, including normal fibroblasts and keratinocytes, as well as various cancer cell lines. Gli2 induction by TGF-beta is rapid, independent from Hh receptor signaling, and requires a functional Smad pathway. Gli1 expression is subsequently activated in a Gli2-dependent manner. In transgenic mice overexpressing TGF-beta1 in the skin, Gli1 and Gli2 expression is also elevated and depends on Smad3. In pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines resistant to Hh inhibition, pharmacologic blockade of TGF-beta signaling leads to repression of cell proliferation accompanied with a reduction in Gli2 expression. We thus identify TGF-beta as a potent transcriptional inducer of Gli transcription factors. Targeting the cooperation of Hh and TGF-beta signaling may provide new therapeutic opportunities for cancer treatment.

                Author and article information

                +47-22-958154 , Jennifer.Dembinski@rr-research.no
                Clin Exp Metastasis
                Clinical & Experimental Metastasis
                Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
                7 May 2009
                October 2009
                : 26
                : 7
                : 611-623
                Section for Cellular and Genetic Therapy, Institute of Microbiology, Cancer Stem Cell Innovation Center (CAST), Rikshospitalet, Forskiningsparken, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway
                © The Author(s) 2009
                Research Paper
                Custom metadata
                © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009


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