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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Aug 15;373(1):36-41. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.05.163. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Podoplanin, a novel marker of tumor-initiating cells in human squamous cell carcinoma A431.

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Laboratory of Cancer Biology, Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan.


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a malignant tumor that shows morphologic and phenotypic similarities to normally differentiated squamous epithelium. Thus, it may be an ideal model for seeking a marker of tumor-initiating cells (TICs) based on their morphology. Using the human SCC cell line A431, we found that, as a paradigm of cancer stem cells: (1) podoplanin(+) cells generate both podoplanin(+) and podoplanin(-) cells; (2) podoplanin(-) cells rarely generate podoplanin(+) cells; (3) podoplanin(+) cells have higher colony formation efficiency and tumorigenicity than podoplanin(-) cells; (4) localization and morphology of podoplanin(+) cells in a xenografted tumor derived from podoplanin(+) cells are similar with those in human oral SCC tissue or normal epithelium. Furthermore, podoplanin(+) A431 cells share sonic hedgehog and CD44 expression with stem cells in normal squamous epithelium. Hence, we concluded that podoplanin is a novel marker to enrich TICs with stem-cell-like properties from SCC cell line A431.

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