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BMC Cancer. 2008 Oct 16;8:300. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-8-300.

Nestin expression in osteosarcomas and derivation of nestin/CD133 positive osteosarcoma cell lines.

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Laboratory of Tumor Biology and Genetics, Institute of Experimental Biology, School of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlarska 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic.



Nestin was originally identified as a class VI intermediate filament protein that is expressed in stem cells and progenitor cells in the mammalian CNS during development. This protein is replaced in the adult organism by other intermediate filament proteins; however, nestin may be re-expressed under certain pathological conditions such as ischemia, inflammation, brain injury, and neoplastic transformation. Nestin has been detected in many kinds of tumors, especially in tumors derived from the CNS. Co-expression of nestin and the CD133 surface molecule is considered to be a marker for cancer stem cells in neurogenic tumors. Our work was aimed at a detailed study of nestin expression in osteosarcomas and osteosarcoma-derived cell lines.


Using immunodetection methods, we examined nestin in tumor tissue samples from 18 patients with osteosarcomas. We also successfully established permanent cell lines from the tumor tissue of 4 patients and immunodetection of nestin and CD133 was performed on these cell lines.


Nestin-positive tumor cells were immunohistochemically detected in all of the examined osteosarcomas, but the proportion of these cells that were positively stained as well as the intensity of staining varied. Nestin-positive cells were rarely observed in 2 tumor samples, and the remaining 16 tumor samples showed various nestin expression patterns ranging from very sporadic occurrence to an overwhelming proportion of cells with strong positive staining. Three of the established osteosarcoma cell lines were demonstrated to be nestin-positive, and only one cell line showed no expression of nestin; this finding corresponds with the rare occurrence of nestin-positive cells in the respective tumor sample. Moreover, three of these osteosarcoma cell lines were undoubtedly proven to be Nes+/CD133+.


Our results represent the first evidence of nestin expression in osteosarcomas and suggest the possible occurrence of cells with a stem-like phenotype in these tumors.

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