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Onco Targets Ther. 2013 Jun 20;6:667-77. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S44177. Print 2013.

Cyclin D1 affects epithelial-mesenchymal transition in epithelial ovarian cancer stem cell-like cells.

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Women's Reproductive Health Laboratory of Zhejiang Province, Women's Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou ; Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Hangzhou First People's Hospital, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China.



The association of cancer stem cells with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is receiving attention. We found in our previous study that EMT existed from CD24- phenotype cells to their differentiated cells. It was shown that cyclin D1 functioned in sustaining self-renewal independent of CDK4/CDK6 activation, but its effect on the EMT mechanism in ovarian cancer stem cells is unclear.


The anchorage-independent spheroids from ovarian adenocarcinoma cell line 3AO were formed in a serum-free medium. CD24- and CD24+ cells were isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Cell morphology, viability, apoptosis, and migratory ability were observed. Stem-related molecule Bmi-1, Oct-4 and EMT-related marker E-cadherin, and vimentin expressions were analyzed. Cyclin D1 expression in CD24- phenotype enriched spheroids was knocked down with small interfering RNA, and its effects on cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration ability, and EMT-related phenotype after transfection were observed.


In our study, CD24- cells presented stronger proliferative, anti-apoptosis capacity, and migratory ability, than CD24+ cells or parental cells. CD24- cells grew with a scattered spindle-shape within 3 days of culture and transformed into a cobblestone-like shape, identical to CD24+ cells or parental cells at 7 days of culture. CD24- cells or spheroids highly expressed cyclin D1, Bmi-1, and vimentin, and seldom expressed E-cadherin, while CD24+ or parental cells showed the opposite expression. Furthermore, cyclin D1-targeted small interfering RNA resulted in decreased vimentin expression in spheroids. Transfected cells also exhibited an obvious decrease in cell viability and migration, but an increase in cell apoptosis.


Cancer stem cell-like cells possess mesenchymal characteristics and EMT ability, and cyclin D1 involves in EMT mechanism, suggesting that EMT of cancer stem cell-like cells may play a key role in invasion and metastasis of ovarian cancer.


cancer stem cell; cyclin D1; epithelial; mesenchymal transition; ovarian cancer

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