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Oral Oncol. 2014 Mar;50(3):155-62. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2013.12.006. Epub 2013 Dec 31.

Stem cell profiling in head and neck cancer reveals an Oct-4 expressing subpopulation with properties of chemoresistance.

Author information

1
Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck, Germany.
2
Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck, Germany. Electronic address: Barbara.Wollenberg@uk-sh.de.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

In the past decade cancer, including head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC), is increasingly being regarded as a stem cell associated disease which arises from cells with the property of stemness. According to the cancer stem cell (CSC) theory, only a specific subpopulation of cancer cells has the ability to initiate and perpetuate cancer growth, especially under treatment. In this article we describe a subpopulation of cells within HNSCC that expresses the stemness factor Oct-4, which leads to apoptotic resistance after exposure to chemotherapeutic agents.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Permanent cell lines and HNSCC tissue were analyzed for expression of stem cell markers using flow cytometric, immunohistochemical approaches and an antibody based protein array. Chemotherapeutic agent-induced growth inhibition, also known as "enrichment", was determined by the colorimetric cell proliferation assay (MTT-based) and putative stem cell markers were investigated by flow cytometry.

RESULTS:

Various potential CSC markers were identified in heterogenic expression profiles in permanent cell lines and solid tumors. Our data suggest the Oct-4A isoform as a marker of stemness in HNSCC and the enrichment of cancer stem-like cells by various chemotherapeutic agents was associated with a significantly higher expression of Oct-4.

CONCLUSION:

This data suggests that many potential CSC markers are expressed on different expression levels in HNSCC. Among these markers Oct-4(A) plays a pivotal role in the detection of cancer cells with enhanced chemoresistance and provide evidence for the existence of cancer stem-like cells in HNSCC.

KEYWORDS:

CD44; Cancer stem cells; GATA4; Goosecoid; HNF-3ß/FoxA2; HNSCC; Head and neck cancer; Oct-4; Oct-4A; Otx2; PDX-1/IPF1; Sox17; Stem cell profiling

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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