Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Br J Cancer. 2008 Jan 29;98(2):380-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604185. Epub 2008 Jan 22.

Squamous cell cancers contain a side population of stem-like cells that are made chemosensitive by ABC transporter blockade.

Author information

Centre For Respiratory Research, Rayne Institute, University College London, 5 University Street, London WC1E 6JJ, UK.


Cancers are a heterogeneous mix of cells, some of which exhibit cancer stem cell-like characteristics including ATP-dependent drug efflux and elevated tumorigenic potential. To determine whether aerodigestive squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) contain a subpopulation of cancer stem cell-like cells, we performed Hoechst dye efflux assays using four independent cell lines. Results revealed the presence of a rare, drug effluxing stem cell-like side population (SP) of cells within all cell lines tested (SCC-SP cells). These cells resembled previously characterised epithelial stem cells, and SCC-SP cell abundance was positively correlated with overall cellular density and individual cell quiescence. Serial SCC-SP fractionation and passaging increased their relative abundance within the total cell population. Purified SCC-SP cells also exhibited increased clonogenic potential in secondary cultures and enhanced tumorigenicity in vivo. Despite this, SCC-SP cells remained chemotherapeutically sensitive upon ATP-dependent transporter inhibition. Overall, these findings suggest that the existence of ATP transporter-dependent cancer stem-like cells may be relatively common, particularly within established tumours. Future chemotherapeutic strategies should therefore consider coupling identification and targeting of this potential stem cell-like population with standard treatment methodologies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center