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Blood. 2006 Dec 1;108(12):3906-12. Epub 2006 Aug 15.

Characterization of stem cell-like cancer cells in immune-competent mice.

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  • 1The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Immunology, 10550 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Recently, the cancer stem cell hypothesis has gained significant recognition as the descriptor of tumorigenesis. Although previous studies relied on transplanting human or rat tumor cells into immunecompromised mice, our study used the Hoechst 33342 dye-based side population (SP) technique to isolate and transplant stem cell-like cancer cells (SCLCCs) from the 4T1 and NXS2 murine carcinoma cell lines into the immune-competent microenvironment of syngeneic mice. 4T1 cells displayed an SP of 2% with a Sca-1(high)c-Kit(-)CD45(-) phenotype, whereas NXS2 cells contained an SP of 0.2% with a Sca-1(high)CD24(high)c-Kit(-)CD45(-)GD (high)(2) phenotype. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) further revealed up-regulation in SP cells of ABCG2, Sca-1, Wnt-1, and TGF-beta2. Additionally, 4T1 and NXS2 SP cells exhibited increased resistance to chemotherapy, and 4T1 SP cells also showed an increased ability to efflux doxorubicin, which correlated with a selective increase in the percentage of SP cells found in the tumors of doxorubicin-treated mice. Most importantly, SP cells showed a markedly higher repopulation and tumorigenic potential in vivo, which correlated with an increased number of cells in the SP compartment of SP-derived tumors. Taken together, these results show that we successfully characterized SCLCCs from 2 murine carcinoma cell lines in the immune-competent microenvironment of syngeneic mice.

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