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Cell Stem Cell. 2010 Jul 2;7(1):127-33. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2010.05.021.

Primary tumor genotype is an important determinant in identification of lung cancer propagating cells.

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Stem Cell Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Successful cancer therapy requires the elimination or incapacitation of all tumor cells capable of regenerating a tumor. Therapeutic advances therefore necessitate the characterization of the cells that are able to propagate a tumor in vivo. We show an important link between tumor genotype and isolation of tumor-propagating cells (TPCs). Three mouse models of the most common form of human lung cancer each had TPCs with a unique cell-surface phenotype. The cell-surface marker Sca1 did not enrich for TPCs in tumors initiated with oncogenic Kras, and only Sca1-negative cells propagated EGFR mutant tumors. In contrast, Sca1-positive cells were enriched for tumor-propagating activity in Kras tumors with p53 deficiency. Primary tumors that differ in genotype at just one locus can therefore have tumor-propagating cell populations with distinct markers. Our studies show that the genotype of tumor samples must be considered in studies to identify, characterize, and target tumor-propagating cells.

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