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Oncotarget. 2013 Oct;4(10):1698-1711.

Lung cancer tumorigenicity and drug resistance are maintained through ALDH(hi)CD44(hi) tumor initiating cells.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR China.

Abstract

Limited improvement in long term survival of lung cancer patients has been achieved by conventional chemotherapy or targeted therapy. To explore the potentials of tumor initiating cells (TIC)-directed therapy, it is essential to identify the cell targets and understand their maintenance mechanisms. We have analyzed the performance of ALDH/CD44 co-expression as TIC markers and treatment targets of lung cancer using well-validated in vitro and in vivo analyses in multiple established and patient-derived lung cancer cells. The ALDH(hi)CD44(hi) subset showed the highest enhancement of stem cell phenotypic properties compared to ALDH(hi)CD44(lo), ALDH(lo)CD44(hi), ALDH(lo)CD44(lo) cells and unsorted controls. They showed higher invasion capacities, pluripotency genes and epithelial-mesenchymal transition transcription factors expression, lower intercellular adhesion protein expression and higher G2/M phase cell cycle fraction. In immunosuppressed mice, the ALDH(hi)CD44(hi)xenografts showed the highest tumor induction frequency, serial transplantability, shortest latency, largest volume and highest growth rates. Inhibition of sonic Hedgehog and Notch developmental pathways reduced ALDH+CD44+ compartment. Chemotherapy and targeted therapy resulted in higher AALDH(hi)CD44(hi) subset viability and ALDH(lo)CD44(lo) subset apoptosis fraction. ALDH inhibition and CD44 knockdown led to reduced stemness gene expression and sensitization to drug treatment. In accordance, clinical lung cancers containing a higher abundance of ALDH and CD44-coexpressing cells was associated with lower recurrence-free survival. Together, results suggested theALDH(hi)CD44(hi)compartment was the cellular mediator of tumorigenicity and drug resistance. Further investigation of the regulatory mechanisms underlying ALDH(hi)CD44(hi)TIC maintenance would be beneficial for the development of long term lung cancer control.

PMID:
24091605
PMCID:
PMC3858556
DOI:
10.18632/oncotarget.1246
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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