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Cancer Cell. 2012 Feb 14;21(2):240-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2011.12.027.

Tumorigenic cells are common in mouse MPNSTs but their frequency depends upon tumor genotype and assay conditions.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Life Sciences Institute, and Center for Stem Cell Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2216, USA.


Tumor-initiating cells have been suggested to be rare in many cancers. We tested this in mouse malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) and found that 18% of primary and 49% of passaged MPNST cells from Nf1(+/-); Ink4a/Arf(-/-) mice formed tumors upon transplantation, whereas only 1.8% to 2.6% of MPNST cells from Nf1(+/-); p53(+/-) mice did. MPNST cells of both genotypes require laminin binding to β1-integrin for clonogenic growth. Most MPNST cells from Nf1(+/-); Ink4a/Arf(-/-) mice expressed laminin, whereas most MPNST cells from Nf1(+/-); p53(+/-) mice did not. Exogenous laminin increased the percentage of MPNST cells from Nf1(+/-); p53(+/-) but not Nf1(+/-); Ink4a/Arf(-/-) mice that formed tumorigenic colonies. Tumor-forming potential is common among MPNST cells, but the assay conditions required to detect it vary with tumor genotype.

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