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Cancer Res. 2009 Jul 15;69(14):5648-55. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-3580. Epub 2009 Jul 7.

Expression of an exogenous human Oct-4 promoter identifies tumor-initiating cells in osteosarcoma.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.

Abstract

We explored the nature of the tumor-initiating cell in osteosarcoma, a bone malignancy that predominately occurs in children. Previously, we observed expression of Oct-4, an embryonal transcriptional regulator, in osteosarcoma cell cultures and tissues. To examine the relationship between Oct-4 and tumorigenesis, cells from an osteosarcoma biopsy (OS521) were stably transfected with a plasmid containing the human Oct-4 promoter driving a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter to generate the transgenic line OS521Oct-4p. In culture, only approximately 24% of the OS521Oct-4p cells were capable of activating the transgenic Oct-4 promoter; yet, xenograft tumors generated in NOD/SCID mice contained approximately 67% GFP(+) cells, which selectively expressed the mesenchymal stem cell-associated surface antigens CD105 and ICAM-1. Comparison of the tumor-forming capacity of GFP-enriched and GFP-depleted cell fractions revealed that the GFP-enriched fractions were at least 100-fold more tumorigenic, capable of forming tumors at doses of <300 cells, and formed metastases in the lung. Clonal populations derived from a single Oct-4/GFP(+) cell were capable of forming tumors heterogeneous for Oct-4/GFP expression. These data are consistent with the cancer stem cell model of tumorigenesis in osteosarcoma and implicate a functional link between the capacity to activate an exogenous Oct-4 promoter and tumor formation. This osteosarcoma tumor-initiating cell appears highly prolific and constitutes a majority of the cell population in a primary xenograft tumor, which may provide a biological basis for the particular virulence of this type of cancer.

PMID:
19584295
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2841219
Free PMC Article

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