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Int J Oncol. 2013 Apr;42(4):1399-407. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2013.1826. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

The CD133+ subpopulation of the SW982 human synovial sarcoma cell line exhibits cancer stem-like characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150001, P.R. China.


Several soft tissues sarcomas have been reported to contain cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) or tumor-initiating cells, based on their ability to initiate and sustain tumor growth. However, these cells have not yet been identified in the human synovial sarcoma cell line SW982. CD133, a surface glycoprotein specific to stem and progenitor cells, has been described as a CSC marker in different tumor types. In the present study, we identified a CSC subpopulation in SW982 cells using the CD133 cell surface marker. CD133-positive (CD133(+)) cells were identified in SW982 cells (8.59%); these cells showed an increased ability to form spherical colonies and could self-renew in serum-starved culture conditions, compared to CD133-negative (CD133(-)) cells. Real-time PCR analysis of stemness genes revealed that the CD133+ subpopulation expresses higher levels of Bmi1, c-Myc, Nanog, Oct3/4 and Sox2. CD133(+) cells showed increased resistance to cisplatin (CDDP) and doxorubicin (DXR), possibly due to upregulation of the ABCG2 drug transporter gene. In vivo studies revealed that the CD133(+) subpopulation is highly tumorigenic. These findings indicate that CD133(+) SW982 cells have characteristics similar to CSCs. This discovery may lead to the development of novel therapies that specifically target CD133(+) synovial sarcoma CSCs.

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